Hyundai-Kia best-selling car firm in Canada
Published : Jul 14, 2011 - 19:13
Updated : Jul 14, 2011 - 19:13
Hyundai’s Sonata gets top marks in U.S. consumer survey

Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and its sister company Kia Motors Corp. ranked as the best-selling passenger carmakers in Canada in the first half of this year, industry sources said Thursday.

The two leading automobile makers in South Korea sold a combined 64,671 passenger cars in the North American country in the January-June period for a market share of 18.2 percent, according to the sources.

The figure is higher than the 42,734 units sold by U.S. automaker General Motors Co. and 40,620 cars sold by Japan’s Toyota Motor Co. in the six-month period.

Hyundai and Kia are the flagship companies of Hyundai Motor Group, which is currently the world’s fourth-largest producer of cars.

The strong sales figure comes after Hyundai and Kia emerged as the best-selling carmakers in the North American country in 2010 when they sold 108,304 passenger vehicles. In the previous year, they stood at third place after Toyota and Honda Motor Co.

Hyundai said the Canadian government’s move to emphasize cars with high fuel economy has spurred demand for such fuel-efficient vehicles as the Accent, the Avante and the Sonata hybrid.

The combined sales of all types of vehicles made by the two carmakers, including sport utility vehicles, stood at fourth place overall in the January-June period. Hyundai and Kia sold 101,816 cars in Canada, trailing Ford Motor Co., GM and Chrysler Group LLC.

Korea’s leading carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. said Thursday that its Sonata sedan tied for the highest number of customer satisfaction points among mid-size cars in a survey conducted by a U.S. market researcher.

Strategic Vision Inc. ranked the Sonata as the best car in its size segment in the 2011 Total Quality Index, along with Volkswagen’s Zeta, Hyundai said. The two cars each received a total of 876 points, the highest in a field that included competitors such as Honda’s Accord, Ford’s Fusion and Nissan’s Altima.

Strategic Vision has been rating customer satisfaction among car buyers since 1995 with the TQI checking all aspects of a buyer’s experience such as perception of quality, reliability, fuel economy and good residual value in the used car market.

Hyundai said the researcher surveyed 37,000 people who bought the Sonata from October through December of 2010.

The latest generation of the popular sedan reached the U.S. market in mid-2009 and received good reviews for its bold design, quality and excellent value-for-money characteristics.

The latest laurels come after the Sonata was named one of the top 10 family cars in 2011 by the Kelley Blue Book in February, and received the customer satisfaction award from AutoPacific in May.

Hyundai, meanwhile, sold 22,754 Sonata units in the U.S. in May, marking the first time that its sales have surpassed rivals like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

In the meantime, the Avante compact made by Hyundai is also poised to become the best-selling domestic and export car in 2011 among local brands, an industry report showed Wednesday.

The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association report said domestic sales of the Avante ― known as the Elantra in the United States ― reached 64,795 units in the first half of this year with exports reaching 125,154.

In the local market, the Avante overcame stiff competition from the Grandeur full-size sedan, also made by Hyundai, whose sales reached 61,938 units in the six month period, while it stayed ahead of Kia Motors Corp.’s Forte compact in the export race. Exports of the Forte, made by Hyundai’s sister company, reached 111,066 units.

“If the Avante’s sales continue to do well in the second half as expected, the car should be able to grab both the best-selling domestic and export titles this year,” a KAMA spokesperson said.

Hyundai said that the Avante has been a steady seller since it was launched in 1995, and was ranked as the best-selling export model in 2009, although it lost out to the Sonata in the local market.

The carmaker said that a rise in global fuel prices is a key factor in strong sales of the Avante, and because the current sales momentum is likely to be maintained, the compact will probably be the best selling car this year.

The latest 2011 model of the Avante is equipped with a 1.6-liter engine that generates 140 horsepower and has a fuel economy of 16.5 kilometers on a liter of gasoline, which is on par with smaller subcompact cars, Hyundai said.

From news reports