New products continue to drive record sales for both Hyundai and Kia, as the two automakers (which share the same ownership) set all-time monthly and quarterly volume records over the first three months of 2011.
For Hyundai, the March tally was 61,873 sales, representing a 32 percent improvement in volume over the same month last year and a 42 percent increase over last month. Significantly, this included a strong 41 percent increase in retail sales. Hyundai's first-quarter results reflect a 28 percent sales jump'”and a 46 percent retail improvement'”over the same time in 2010, based on a volume of 142,620 units.
Key drivers of this performance have been the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and all-new Hyundai Elantra, with the former achieving a 21 percent rise in sales for March, attracting 22,894 new customers, and the latter seeing sales surge by over 134 percent last month, on volume of 19,255 units. That's also positive news for U.S. manufacturing, as the Sonata and Elantra are built at Hyundai's production facility in Alabama.
March marked another important achievement for the company, as well, as it reported its highest sales-weighted corporate average fuel economy rating: 35.8 mpg. As readers may recall, Hyundai became the first automaker to begin providing this information, along with sales numbers for vehicles able to reach 40 mpg highway, earlier this year. This data also showed a total of 17,093 sales of 40 mpg products in March, accounting for 28 percent of Hyundai's total, and 30,715 sales for the first quarter, representing 22 percent of overall sales.
'March was an unbelievably strong month for Hyundai,' said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America's executive vice president of national sales. 'Consumer demand was comparable to our previous record-setting month, August 2009, when the high watermark for sales was set with the 'Cash for Clunkers' program.Â With our overall supply of fuel-efficient vehicles improving, and the recent launch of our breakthrough 40-mpg 2011 Elantra, we are poised to sustain our momentum into the strong spring selling season.'
Record-setting sales for Kia in March'”which reached 44,179 units'”were led by the Kia Sorento and Kia Soul. With the former finding 11,071 new customers and the latter attracting 10,028, it was the first time Kia had two vehicles with more than 10,000 sales in the same month. The all-new Kia Optima is off to a robust start, too. Kia's mid-size sedan sold 6,891 units in the prior month, an increase of 89.7 percent.
The company's first-quarter sales of 104,774 vehicles, representing Kia's top quarterly performance in the U.S., was an increase of 6.9 percent over its past best, attained in the third quarter of 2010.
"Kia's design-led transformation has delivered a diverse lineup of stylish and fun-to-drive vehicles, and with rising fuel prices, more and more consumers are visiting our showrooms to take advantage of the outstanding fuel economy each of our vehicles offer," said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of KMA and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG).