• Aug 30th 2010 at 9:32AM
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Nissan has long been the number three Asian automaker in the U.S., lagging behind both Honda and Toyota on the sales charts. But the Japanese automaker has been on a bit of a roll of late, with 10 straight months of sales gains and an aggressive product onslaught planned for the next 24 months. Nissan would love to unseat Honda to finally sneak up to the number two slot in the States, but a funny thing's happening: Hyundai is doing its best to push Nissan down to number four.

Nissan and Hyundai are currently in a dead heat in U.S. auto sales. Through July, Nissan has sold 522,669 cars and trucks, while Hyundai, when combined with Kia sales, has moved 515,316 vehicles. Hyundai has a treasure-trove of new product on dealer lots lead by the outstanding Sonata sedan. New products like the Kia Sportage and the Elantra are poised to battle hard for increased market share in their perspective segments. Nissan is countering with a new Juke in October, followed by the Leaf EV and the Quest minivan, and wrapping up with another six significantly upgraded vehicles by 2012.

So who do we think will win the battle for number two? Hyundai appears to have most of the momentum at the moment, but Nissan has a larger customer base – at the moment. In fact, we'd be surprised if either automaker surpasses Honda in the next couple years.

[Source: USA Today]


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  • 60 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      This real test for Hyundai will be coming soon.

      The first 'good' series of Sonatas came out in 2005, which means it'll be time to buy a new one soon. Let's see if they have brand loyalty.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Enjoy your red bar.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Both companies have great products. I leased a 350Z a while back, then bought a Titan for work (have since sold it), and I have a Genesis coupe that is my daily driver.

      Personally I would love to see them at # 1 and 2, but I highly doubt that will happen.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai's level of progress is impressive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the Juke and Quest are leading the way for Nissan then they are in trouble.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If it happens, it wouldn't be Nissan "finally" becoming number two, it would be regaining number two after a period of falling behind Honda. And Hyundai does not combine its sales with Kia because although they may effectively control Kia, Hyundai Motor do not own a controlling number of shares and Kia ostensibly retains independent management, while Infiniti is clearly a division of Nissan. Among other things, this allows Hyundai and Kia to have separate CAFE averages; if it becomes to Hyundal's advantage to include Kia, they can probably rearrange share ownership among their chaebol.

      The sales order in what is now only one of a number of large regional markets doesn't really seem as relevant as when the USA was by far the largest market in the world.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nissan has the talent to create competent vehicles - the Altima, Maxima, Z, and Infiniti G models prove that, but they've also let some mediocre product sit on the vine for a bit long. Sentra and Pathfinder weren't particularly well received when they came out, and Nissan hasn't done a whole lot to rectify the situations. With the Versa as large as the Sentra and noticeably cheaper, the Sentra can't really play the "budget" compact car anymore.

      For 2011, all of Hyundai/Kia's bread and butter models will be all new or relatively fresh (Sonata/Optima, Elantra/Forte, Tucson/Sportage, Sorrento), so they should have a bang-up year. The only major market segment where Nissan has newer/better product is when comparing the Murano to the Santa Fe, but even then Kia has compelling product in the Sorrento. Not saying Nissan's lineup isn't competitive, but it's a coasting year for them.

      I think the true battle will come if/when Nissan releases a new Altima, Sentra, and perhaps an updated Rogue (not that it's bad, just can't let it sit).
      • 4 Years Ago
      These are two companies still making exciting cars for the masses. I like them both. I used to be a Honda fan but I realized that every Honda I ever liked is now dead - Prelude, Integra, RSX, NSX, S2000. The most exciting car in Honda's lineup is now the Accord coupe. It's just a matter of time before one of these companies passes Honda. The sooner the better.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So Hyundai gets to include Kia sales, does Nissan include Infiniti sales?
      • 4 Years Ago
      The more I see elderly drivers in new Accords, the more I think Honda is losing its mojo.

      Nissan, on the other hand, is pretty hip.
      • 4 Years Ago
      From TTAC:

      Nissan NA Aug Sales: 76,827

      Hyundai Group Aug Sales: 86,068

      That puts the latter in the lead now for YTD sales.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai's new elantra and accent are both going be a hit and the kia sportage is anther hit. those new models alone will push hyundai kia right past NISSAN and put hyundai in the battle Field to take out honda and toyota in the foreseeable future as long as hyundai kia keeps up the great work they have done to reinvent their selfs and their models. Hyundai will do it, mark my words! Nissan has no fresh models, the new juke should be called a joke. the new leaf I will say could be their ace in the hole , beside the leaf, I don't see any other model giving nissan the extra push it needs ! Go hyundai !
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