Both set April volume records
Even in an April that had three fewer selling days than the same period in 2011, both Hyundai and Kia were able to set new benchmarks for sales volume last month, with the former posting its eighth consecutive monthly sales record and the latter extending its streak to 20 straight months of record-breaking performances.
"Never has a relatively flat sales month felt quite so good," said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America's executive vice president of national sales. "We definitely felt some pullback from an overheated March sales pace but really picked up some momentum at the tail end of the month and finished with a flurry to set another all-time volume record.”
Added Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of Kia Motor America: "Our record April performance is the latest illustration of how far the Kia brand has progressed as we continue to attract new customers with our unique value formula of world-class design, outstanding fuel efficiency, premium features and cutting-edge technologies.”
Hyundai actually recorded its second-highest monthly sales total ever in April and was likely held back from doing even better because of the tight supplies of the Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Elantra. The brand’s top two sellers by volume both ended up taking a few steps backward last month, with the Sonata midsize sedan slipping by about 5.6 percent and the Elantra compact falling by almost 24 percent. However, the company just announced it would start a third shift at its manufacturing plant in Alabama—where the two vehicles are built—and that should begin help boosting inventories later in the year. (Note: To meet current demand, Hyundai now also imports Elantras from Korea.)
April Hyundai Sales: Premium products score gains
On the other hand, the brand’s premium products all reaped nice gains in April, showing Hyundai’s move up-market is working well. The completely redesigned Hyundai Azera, for example, sold 953 units in its first month on the market, which seems minuscule until you realize that the old model managed just 191 sales the year before.
Also, the Hyundai Genesis family, including the restyled Hyundai Genesis Coupe, advanced by almost 34 percent, while the flagship Hyundai Equus moved sales ahead by more than 58 percent, albeit on just 351 deliveries. The brand’s spunky Hyundai Veloster—still sort of a halo car despite its practical $17,300 MSRP—pulled in 3,192 April sales; the Veloster is new this year, so there are no April 2011 figures with which to compare it, but those few thousand units did make the difference in helping Hyundai achieve a 1 percent overall sales improvement last month.
April Kia Sales: Kia Optima Takes Off
Kia also squeezed out about a 1 percent bump in sales in April, but it must be noted that only the Kia Optima and Kia Rio were in the black last month.
The brand’s strikingly designed midsize sedan—the Optima—went from 6,533 sales in April 2011 to 11,021 units this past month, which translates into a 68.7 percent increase and some fairly mainstream-esque volume. The 40-mpg Rio subcompact benefitted from a 55.6 percent sales jump of its own, and its total volume of 4,006 units was more than achieved by rivals like the Ford Fiesta or Honda Fit.
The Kia Soul also managed to edge ahead of last year’s April by a few hundred units, finishing the past month with 10,716 sales.