Now riding a streak of 15 consecutive monthly sales records, Kia sold 37,007 vehicles in November—the most ever for that month, obviously—reflecting an increase of 39.1 percent over its November 2010 sales. The automaker’s deliveries are now up 35.7 percent on a year-to-date basis, having surpassed last year’s overall total in October.
And for the second consecutive month, Kia’s sales were topped by American-made products, in this case, the Kia Optima and Kia Sorento. The all-new Optima mid-size sedan was responsible for 9,533 deliveries in November, representing a jump of nearly 570 percent over the same period in 2010. The performance is further evidence that the Optima is finding a sweet spot amongst U.S. buyers—as is its YTD sales increase of over 204 percent—and represents a strong confirmation that its many recent third-party awards were wisely chosen. Sales of the Sorento crossover were essentially flat in November, but the vehicle again topped all others in the Kia lineup with 9,669 sales.
Which probably explains why this month’s sales quote comes from Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of Kia Motors America and, more relevantly here, of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, where the Optima and Sorento are built: "Kia's growth has far outpaced the industry all year,” he said, “and the brand's design-led transformation has raised awareness for the brand and attracted new customers to our showrooms to experience our diverse lineup that offers world-class style, performance, technology and safety features.”
Notable as well were the gains from the redesigned Kia Rio, the stylish Kia Sportage and the ever-funky Kia Soul. The Rio, which debuted in September, saw sales surge by more than 123 percent; the Sportage was good for a gain of 74 percent; and sales the Soul were elevated by almost 23 percent.
In fact, except for the Kia Forte, every 2012 model in the Kia lineup saw positive sales growth in November, and every current-year model except the Rio is ahead of last year’s sale pace. This even includes the Kia Sedona minivan, which caught a 9.9 percent increase in deliveries in November and has improved YTD sales by more than 10 percent.
Looking at the big picture, it’s worth pointing out that Kia again outgrew its corporate sibling, Hyundai, in November. The former has improved sales faster than the latter in 10 of 11 months this year, and that’s reflected in the two brands’ YTD numbers. As mentioned above, Kia has lifted its sales by 35.7 percent through November, while Hyundai deliveries have “only” moved ahead by 21 percent during that time. A key difference? Kia’s crossover lineup continues to outperform that of Hyundai, and that’s something Hyundai is going to have to watch going forward, particularly considering U.S. customers’ love of both trucks and “trucks.”