• May 27, 2011
Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia could surpass Toyota/L... Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia could surpass Toyota/Lexus in sales (Hyundai, Kia)
Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia, which are both part of the Hyundai Motor Chaebol (Korean conglomerate) are expected to outsell Toyota and Lexus for the first time when all the sales are counted for the month of May.

TrueCar.com, a leading website for new car pricing, trends and forecasting says that the Korean duo will report sales of between 115,000 and 116,000 in May, good enough for the number three spot behind General Motors and Ford, and ahead of Toyota/Lexus and Chysler/Dodge/Jeep.

Toyota/Lexus sales are expected to be down almost one-third from April, as well as down one-third from May of last year. The reason for the drop is a shortage of product due to the impact of the March earthquake in Japan on assembly and parts plants in that country.

"Inventory constraints finally hit the Japanese automakers this month but the recovery in supply appears quicker than first anticipated," said Jesse Toprak, VP of Industry Trends and Insights for TrueCar.com. "Current inventory shortages and perceived inventory shortages led to the lowest incentive spending in nearly nine years and the lowest selling rate of the year. This is a sizeable speed bump on the road to recovery."

So, is it just because of the earthquake that Hyundai and Kia are rising? Los Angeles based marketing consultant Dennis Keene says the tragedy definitely helped the Koreans, as well as GM and Ford, but that's not the whole story. "Five years ago, we would not be talking about Hyundai or Kia in this way even with the tragic event in Japan giving them this opportunity."

Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik recently spoke with AOL Autos and said that he expected sales of Hyundai to get stronger throughout the year. "We have worked very hard to design our new vehicles around the needs and wants of the American consumer, and the feedback we are getting is that all that work by our team is paying off," says Krafcik, an engineer and former Ford and Toyota executive. "We are holding our own and then some in one-on-one comparisons against our more established rivals...our owners are very happy with out vehicles and they are spreading the word."

The two Korean brands are expected to be the only brands combining for a sales gain versus April. TrueCar expects them to post a 6.1 sales gain over May of 2010. The website is forecasting slight sales dips at Ford and GM versus May, and flat sales versus May of last year.

Hyundai and Kia are managed separately despite being part of the same Korean conglomerate. They do share an engineering and tech center in Michigan. But they market themselves differently, and make independent decisions about design and products.

Honda and Nissan, also impacted by the earthquake, are expected to take hits as well, down 26 respectively versus April.

The overall industry is expected to down more than 8%. Why the dip? TrueCar says that consumer confidence is part of it, but notes that automakers have also been reducing the discounts on cars, which is causing some buyers to stay on the sidelines.

The average incentive spending per vehicle will be approximately $2,017 in May 2011, which represents a drop of 13.1 percent from April 2011 and down 28.9 percent from May 2010.

Why are the automakers lightening rebates? Mostly it is because of the lost production at the Japanese companies due to the earthquake. The auto business is a supply in demand business, and with fewer vehicles on dealer lots to sell, the prices go up.

Bottom Line: The earthquake in Japan definitely helped Hyundai and Kia to pass Toyota and Lexus in sales in May, but the fact is that the Korean companies are attracting many more customers and prospects because of vastly improved vehicles.


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      • 3 Years Ago
      rented a kia forte for the week-end and was amazed at the comfort and handling.!!!!!!
      Dan
      • 3 Years Ago
      BUY AMERICAN IF YOU LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES AND YES WE MAKE GREAT CARS AND TRUCKS !
        gerbersmail
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan
        The American car companies had a huge advantage in the automobile market for the last 50 years and blew it by getting greedy! They minimized quality and performance by cutting corners to line their own pockets with profits and now they are crying like a baby. Sorry but I will buy whatever car company offers the best value for my dollar and currently that happens to be imports such as Lexus, Honda, Toyota and so on. While American auto makers have improved in quality and workmanship over the last few years they still lag behind the imports. Show me an American car that can I can get 500,000 problem free miles out of like the imports I have owned and I will listen. I currently own a Lexus and a Honda and they clearly out perform any American cars in the same class in workmanship and quality by a long shot. Until then I'll stick to my quality imports. Sorry Detroit but you did this to yourself!
      • 3 Years Ago
      The last American car I owned (new) was a '67 Firebird, ran it hard for seven years. Very dependable car. In the '70s, America started producing junk, which gave the Japanese an easy opening. After awhile, they got ambitious, and started copying German cars. Mimicry is what Asians do best. So, Lexus copies of Mercedes (in particular) did well. Never as good, but considerably cheaper. Now, the Koreans have found success mimicking the Japanese, and they're cheaper yet. What goes around...
      Iselin007
      • 3 Years Ago
      When
      Iselin007
      • 3 Years Ago
      if
      Big Bad John
      • 3 Years Ago
      I agree we need to buy American made and American owned.I have a hard time when people start thinking of themselves and forget any people that we hurt and put out of jobs here in the U.S. What good do we do when we buy Japan and Korean made and owned Vehicles.They have people brainwash in the U.S. thinking that because they throw up some assembly plants in the U.S.that they are doing a lot for the U.S. Wrong all they are doing is just a few models out of their group of vehicles.I would like to see list of what vehicles are made in Japan versus how many are put together in the U.S, I think that you will find the majority made in Japan and Korea.When we buy American say Ford your money stays mostly 95% to 100% in the U.S, When you buy Japanese or Korean 75% to 100% goes back to those companies.This being Memorial day I will add 1 more thing my Father fought in War World II.he told me not to buy any Foreign vehicles because a lot of men and women died fighting for us.I felt like out of respect for those who made this country Free.
        Hi Seyjazz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Big Bad John
        You couldn't have said if more eloquently John!! There should be more Americans like you in this Country. You can tell that this Country is going down the tubes just by reading most of these ignorant comments made by ignorant people who think they know what they are saying. Those poor things . . . . Thanks for your very unselfish and accurate comment! God Bless you and everyone like you.
        octopuzzy1
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Big Bad John
        Most American cars are not built in the US. Almost all there parts are not made here either. My father fought in WW11 also. 1964 Worlds Fair in NY interduced the US to the Japenese car. Before then there wasn't any on our roads. The new world order has changed things.. The best product for the buck will survive. I beleive your percentages are off a bit
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Big Bad John
        Er, BIG BAD, I appreciate the sentiment, being a Korean War vet. But check the number of parts made in Japan, Korea, Mexico, and other counrties that are used by GM and Ford in their manufacturing an "American made" auto. I felt as you do until I did some homework to be able to "buy American". It is impossible to buy an all-American made auto.. However, much of the money spent at dealerships OF ALL MAKES stays in American pockets, and that amount is greater than the amount sent "overseas". review your sources for that 95-100% remark.
        benjaminzimmet
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Big Bad John
        Um, exactly backwards. The foreign automakers make a greater percentage of vehicles in America, not the "American" companies which produce the majority of their cars in Mexico and Canada, so they can brand them as North American, to fool uninformed consumers like yourself. But hey, I guess it works they sell more, oh, wait.....
      Cheryl
      • 3 Years Ago
      We always bought American cars until we got tired of fighting the dealers for each and every problem (sliding door falling off and we were out of town!?!?!?) to be fixed at all let alone in a timely manner. We bought a Hyundai almost 6 years ago(over 100,000 miles) and are extremely pleased. We have only had normal maintenance items (tires and brakes) on the vehicle and love the ride! Sorry American car makers, but when we get a new one, we are looking to Hyundai again!
      janelee595
      • 3 Years Ago
      SHUT TOYOTA DOWN, ok with me. i bought 2007 venza new, paid cash. 4k miles steering loose and making bad noise. dealer mechanic (after test drive) tells me " oh a lot of venza have this issue." he could feel loose play in steering wheel and noise. service dept called me in office and said no problem and can not get part to help noise and looseness. i went to arbitration with toyota. they sent independent inspector. we all ride in car. service man from toyota, inspector and car owner. everyones hears the noise, independent inspector is driving, no one utters a word.(well trained). 3 days later letter comes no problem detected, can not fix noise,part no longer available. check back with dealer from time to time to see if any miracles happen. i had purchased 3 2007 camrys and 1 venza in 2007. all traded in except 1 camry within months of this bullshit from toyota.last camry will be gone as soon as i can trade it in. SHUT TOYOTA DOWN. it will not bother me one bit.
      amy u
      • 3 Years Ago
      i believe Toyotas have been excellent vehicles in the past,but in the last few years the company has gotten a bit arrogant and stingy and has not put customer service or quality of the vehicle in the foremost..As someone who has always purchased Toyotas, this year we purchased a Honda because I just don't trust Toyotta anymore..I think Toyota needed a wake up call and they are getting it bigtime.
      Donna
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've just bought my second Santa Fe. The first one was a 2002. I love Hyundai!
      • 3 Years Ago
      it has NOTHING do with the earthquake...... kia and hyundai make a hell of a car, i own a 2011 kia optima, and i used to only buy toyota. yes toyota's are reliable , but they are just plain boring. You pay tons of money for little to none features. people look at my optima and ask, What is That??? It looks loke a BMW, Mercedes, Lexus. I have heard them all, It drives like a dream, quiet, smooth ride, every feature you could ever need. If you never went to see one or drove one you aere missing out. Quality and fit and finish are better than some high end german cars, because the car was designed and created in germany..... Fastest 4 cyl engine at 200 hp, i pass people and they have no clue. KIA no longer means keep it afordable, it now means KICK IN AS*!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Get rates from top insurance providers and save big on Auto Insurance at: ( http://tinyurl.com/YourCarInsuranceQuotes )
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