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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% gain over April, and a whopping 43.4% 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% and 7.2% 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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  • 474 Comments
      idgascreamer
      • 3 Years Ago
      Keep buying Foreign Crap and you will support Terrorists !
      taylorman710
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyotas are a death trap just like the Ford Pinto was.
        mommyjp
        • 3 Years Ago
        @taylorman710
        What are you talking about? My son was in a Toyota Corolla and hit head on by a Honda van and he had only minor scratches. You had better do alot more research to back your statement. Also, Toyota's and Honda's last forever. My Honda is ten years old and looks like brand new. American cars are still junk and I have owned every brand of car for the last 34 years.
        ollas
        • 3 Years Ago
        @taylorman710
        What a stupid comment to make about an entire brand of automobile!
      Iselin007
      • 3 Years Ago
      Once you've gone weeks without having to fill up with gas you'd realize especially in these times how really special the Honda Insight 2 seater was. I saw times when I achieved over 70 mpg and once I got 83 Mpg. If you drove it with care you could easily get over 700 mpg per tank.
      BABIN
      • 3 Years Ago
      In my personal opinion only Toyota Camry LE series from 1998-2000 is the best car with engine and most of parts,I have two from 2000 both have over 250 thousand miles and still running no big problems I don't change any big parts or repair. Usual stuff change the oil and tires, I drive a 100 miles a day 7 days a week whole year, I mean 700 miles a week X 52 weeks in the last more of 10 years,Only things I drive one Camry couple months without stopping and other Camry is in my garage and after that I change I mean rotate cars and after that drive another my Camry and first Camry I put back in my garage which I drive first for couple months and I go like that every couple months in the last more of 10 years. And by the way I have BMW Z3 2000 with only 45 thousand miles on it but I just don't drive much German stuff because not much personal time for me because of nature of my job and of course no any problems for BMW I mean German cars is the engine and parts from another planet and I think is very true what many say ''BMW-Ultimate driving machine'', but in the end doesn't matter what Toyota Camry series from 1998-2000 is the one of best cars for regular price you can buy. AMEN
      Steve
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why does AOL news have so many typos?!?!?! It is a bit distracting, doesn't someone read this stuff before submitting it?
      • 3 Years Ago
      No, no, no - Honda
      • 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*!!!!!!!!!!!!
      jfsny14626
      • 3 Years Ago
      lets face the facts American workers are not as good as the Asian workers. the American company's can not compete with the Asian company's Toyota and Honda have been out selling the American automobiles for years now they have another company Hyundai/Kia!! why do you think many American company's are moving out of the united states ? They don't have the regulations, the racism , the unions to contend with . America is being disassembled peace by peace it will never be the same again. America will in your life time become a third world power they will never be number one again you have people in Washington right now making sure this happens . When President Bill Clinton signed off on the North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Trade & Tariffs in 1993, otherwise known as NAFTA/GATT, he quite literally slashed the economic throat of the United States. We've been hemorrhaging jobs to foreign nations like Communist China ever since. Until 1993, the United States of America was the world's economic king, and our people enjoyed the highest standard of living in recorded history. But NAFTA/GATT changed all that by virtually removing all trade protections that ensured our general prosperity.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I drove foreign cars--a Volvo and a Volkswagen--as well as domestic ones. Frankly, I decided a few years ago that I had to buy and drive American cars. I bought a Chevrolet HHR four years ago and it has 105,000 miles on it. Love the car--it's reliable, roomy, and has a cute retro look. I had a bumper sticker made for it: "Let's Buy American!" Several people have commented on the fact that foreign makers build cars in America. Yes, they do. In non-union states after receiving significant incentives and tax breaks from locals wanting to develop jobs, so in fact they are subsidized by U.S. taxpapers. California spent $10 million dredging a river so a Toyota plant could have deep-water shipping channels. Guess which plant Toyota decided to close when the economic downturn came? It sure wasn't one in Japan. Also, not only do profits flow back to Japan and korea, but those countries emplpy all the other staff involved in building cats: marketing, engineering, design, and the executive suites. The jobs created in thge U.S. are assembly line ones.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I purchased my 2011 Sonata Limited in February and to date I am impressed with the customer service and the car as a whole. I am hoping this will continue with no problems. Most of my friends were surprised that I decided to change from Mitsubishi.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am a big Toyota fan. In my life, I have owned three cars, my first was a Ford Mustang during my college days, trouble from day one, my second and third, both Toyotas, a Camry, it had over 250,000 miles when I traded it for my current Toyota Tacoma, it is still running great with over 319,000 miles on it. Toyota mades a great product and Ford trucks are great also, but my next one will be a Toyota..................again. Oh and they are made in America for all of you got to be an American made. All America made cars and trucks are looking alike in look and body and you can't tell the different until you are on top of the vehicle in stop and go traffic. Built them to last long, built them different from everyone else and America's like myself may start buying them more.
      • 3 Years Ago
      quote "When is this stupid country going to wake up and BUY AMERICAN. I'm so sick and tired of seeing people driving foreign cars where the profits go back to the country of origin. " There is a very good reason for this. Number one is the high cost of UNION labor which has driven the price of everything made in America to crazy levels. Next up is Detroit did not make a well made car from 1973 to 2010. They made junk with no quality and UNION labor who did not give a damn about quality. America got tired of that and bought Asian made cars because THAT is where the quality and value is. GM, FORD, and Chrysler LET the competition bankrupt them. Now WE THE TAXE payers had to bail the losers out! I own Totyota and Honda and have ZERO problems with them! For Detroit, It is TOO LITTLE TOO LATE!
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