Hyundai, Kia rank No. 1 in U.S. for mid-size cars
Combined market share of mid-sized sedans made by Hyundai Motor Co. and its sister company Kia Motors Corp. ranked first in the United States last month, industry sources said Sunday.
Sources said sales of Hyundai’s popular Sonata sedan reached 22,754 units in May, while Kia sold 7,401 Optima sedans in the one month period. This pushed up market share of the two models to 19.0 percent of all mid-sized sedans sold in the U.S., surpassing GM’s 18.8 percent.
The number represents the first time that cars made by Hyundai Motor Group, which includes both Hyundai and Kia, took the top market share in one of the world’s largest automobile markets.
“The ranking signifies that U.S. consumers no long consider Hyundai and Kia to be low-end car brands,” a company representative said.
The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group’s market share stood at sixth place in 2009 and rose to fourth place in the mid-size car segment in 2010.
Coming into 2011, the two companies made headway on the strength of good consumer reviews and following the massive March 11 quake that hit Japan and disrupted production at plants run by Toyota and Honda.
Market share of the two Japanese carmakers that have traditionally led sales fell to fifth and sixth place last month.
Hyundai said that it has sold an average of 19,000 Sonatas every month this year, with total annual sales for the Kia Optima reaching 28,532 as of late May.
Korea’s largest automobile group, meanwhile, said strong sales of such vehicles as the Elantra have allowed it to maintain its top market share position in the U.S. compact car segment for three consecutive months from March through May.