Although they each faced more than their usual share of challenges last year, both Hyundai and Kia once again set new full-year benchmarks for U.S. sales. The former broke the 700,000-unit mark for the very first time, delivering 703,007 units and an 8.9 percent improvement over its sales performance in 2011. In addition, five members of the brand’s lineup—the Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Veloster, Hyundai Equus and Hyundai Genesis—posted their own full-year sales records. And notably, both the Sonata and Elantra also were among the industry’s top 10 vehicles in terms of retail sales.
On the other hand, even as Hyundai sales expanded by their fastest rate in months in December, when deliveries increased by 17 percent, the company ended up underperforming the industry for 2012 as a whole. The U.S. automotive marketplace grew by about 13.4 percent last year—4.5 percent beyond Hyundai’s pace.
The situation was then reversed for Kia. Backed by strong sales earlier this year, Kia grew volume by 14.9 percent in 2012 and delivered 557,599 units; it was the first time the brand had sold more than half a million units in a single year in the United States. But in December itself, Kia’s streak of 27 consecutive monthly sales records came to a decisive halt, with the brand actually losing ground. The bottom line for Kia showed 39,178 sales that represented a fairly steep 9.7 percent decline.