If forecasts from TrueCar.com are accurate, Hyundai and Kia will be the only automakers to post sales gains in the month of May. Mildly interesting news in itself, but the real shocking nugget is that the Korean conglomerate is expected to pass Toyota (including its Lexus luxury brand) as the third-best-selling automaker in the United States.

Surely there are multiple reasons why Toyota and Lexus sales are expected to drop in May (when compared to April, 2011 and May of 2010), but parts and inventory shortages stemming from the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan are front and center.

Credit also goes to Hyundai and Kia for the dramatic gains they have made on their Japanese and American competitors in the last few years, both in sales and in consumer perception. That said, Toyota seems likely to rebound in the coming months, so it will be an interesting exercise to follow the sales charts.

When all the numbers finally come in, TrueCar.com expects the month of May to show an eight-percent drop in sales from April. As you would expect, shortages of cars imported from Japan is partly to blame, but lowered incentives from all automakers is also cited as a contributing factor.


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  • 38 Comments
      Charles
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM has a lot to learn form Hyundai/Kia. Hard to believe that ten years ago I used to laugh at those little crappy Elantras and Accents. Now I love their cars and admire their progress. Why don't Americans auto makers get it?? why do they keep building plain, unworthy models?? why are they so far behind?? Look at the Cruze, everyone was so hyped about it finally being a proper compact sedan from GM. Now that its been released its competitors have step up the bar once again, much higher. GM is always one step behind, they are always playing catch-up. The new Malibu looks nice but only until the Toyota releases its new Camry. See my point?
        banstaman
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Charles
        Well on the road which Toyota [and Honda as well] is traveling, I wouldn't hold my breath on the Camry being better than the Malibu, but that-we are uncertain of. That said, I don't necessarily think the Cruze is behind nor is it a BAD car, it's OKAY, but it all depends on how you look at it. I will agree with you and say that they would have a lot to learn from the Hyundai Elantra, which meets the 40 MPG highway mark without any special implementations such as grille shutters, DI, or advanced engine technology, but who knows. I'm sure they will be progressing soon enough.
      Zoom
      • 3 Years Ago
      With autosales down, the second dip in the Great Recession is coming. The earthquake was just hotsauce on the cake. Without products to sell, prices are up and people still have no money. Of course those who NEED a car are flocking to the cheapest thing out there, and H-K are it. Perhaps this is why the $16k Jetta is selling like crazy. Maybe people just want a cheap car.
      HollyWood Hogan
      • 3 Years Ago
      So lets see Kia/Hyundie fanbois will celebrate b/c Toyota/Lexus couldn't produce cars b/c of one of the worst disasters in history in April. Shame on this report and NO **** SHERLOCK. OMG, cheaper cars are outselling more expensive ones!
        MAX
        • 3 Years Ago
        @HollyWood Hogan
        But aren't all the Toyotas and Hondas built in America with all American parts by elves and unicorns. That's what the American car haters have saying for years, must not be true.
          Carlos Cruz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @MAX
          Actually even though final assembly occurs here, a lot of components are made in Japan. (Except the accelerator pedal, those are made at a good old 'merican manufacturing facility in Indiana called CTS corp)
          • 3 Years Ago
          @MAX
          [blocked]
        gnvlscdt23f
        • 3 Years Ago
        @HollyWood Hogan
        Still, H-K has been gaining market share all year while TMC has been slipping, well before the tsunami. This just accelerates the trend. Oh, and of course that the cheaper cars are getting better mileage now, better safety ratings, nicer interiors, etc. Shouldn't take a Sherlock to figure out this was gonna happen eventually.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      You would think Toyota might have learned a thing or two from VW's failure in the US market. I guess not.
        Synthono
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        What does VW have to do with this?
          Synthono
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          Pretty sure we're looking at an article about Toyota/Lexus and Hyundai/Kia. Neither of these manufacturers are VW. VW was not mentioned in the article once. To bring up VW out of nowhere is to suggest you have a mysterious axe to grind. I don't know if a VW ran over your dog, but this trolling act is tiresome.
          You guy
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          1) Yes VW doesn't belong here. 2) Since you brought it up, their sales aren't anywhere near the top foreign importer/maker... And haven't been for Decades. Its not the 60s anymore.
          tantareanujellob
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          Oh come on son, don't you see the writing is on the wall. Are you blind? VW was once the biggest foreign car brand in the US. Now look at them.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      I bet most Hyundai/Kia buyers don't even know its Korean. They probably think its just another Japanese brand.
      Lightbulb101
      • 3 Years Ago
      Credit to hyundai/kia, but shouldn't this be compared to toyota/honda as lexus is a luxury brand which costs much more than what hyundai/kia offer, or am I missing something?
        Fulorian
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Lightbulb101
        No. Toyota and Honda are two competitors from the same market. Toyota and Lexus are two brands from the same firm. Hyundai owns nearly 40% of Kia and has many platform sharing alliances - to list the two side by side is far closer to saying Toyota/Lexus than Toyota/Honda. Besides, Hyundai now competes with Lexus in nearly all the segments they are in.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Fulorian
          [blocked]
        Synthono
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Lightbulb101
        It's by the manufacturer. Hyundai and Kia are divisions of the same company. Toyota and Lexus are also divisions of the same company. Thus, if you're comparing sales by manufacturer, Hyundai and Kia will be counted together, as will Toyota and Lexus. The market segment doesn't mean anything, it's just a count of sales overall.
        cpmanx
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Lightbulb101
        Although there is a tight corporate relationship between Hyundai and Kia, they are *not* a single company, so the comparison to Toyota/Lexus is a little misleading. Hyundai and Kia are both selling in the mainstream car & truck market, but with separate distribution channels and with different styling and (in some cases) engineering. What we are seeing here is the broader rise of the Korean car industry. I'm glad to see exciting cars coming out of Kia and Hyundai, and I'm very glad to see the competitive pressure ratcheting up on Toyota, which has grown boring and extremely conservative. But if you are going to lump together Hyundai and Kia sales, you might also want to lump together Toyota and Subaru sales, since Toyota owns a significant stake in the company and has platform/technology sharing deals in place there, too.
      WESBROMLEY
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's about time someone set on the Japenese car company's I really applaud Hyundia and Kia. They build great cars, and hope they can continue to be succesful.. To bad the American car companines cannot design cars that look real slick. Toyota and Honda have had sucess for to long, and their cars look old style.
      Scr
      • 3 Years Ago
      Honda/Toyota shoratges should not really be hitting yet in the US with such slow sales overall...dealers usually carry a few months of inventory, plus you need to count all the vehicles in port stroage and those at sea. Add in the domestic manufacturing and Hyundai/Kia are beating them by making more desireable cars at better prices.
        Rob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Scr
        Agreed. Toyota and Honda market share have been slipping for a while before the disaster. It is a level playing field now
      meekli8
      • 3 Years Ago
      What a sad sad year for HONDUH lol
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