Automotive News reports both Hyundai and Kia have stepped up fleet sales in an attempt to offset disappointing first quarter results. The Korean automakers saw their sales decline by nine percent compared to last year, while all major competitors managed to increase their sales. That situation marks an inversion of two years ago, when both gained ground after Japanese rivals suffered production and inventory shortages after the country's earthquake and tsunami tragedies.

Now, Hyundai can't come up with enough volume models in popular trim configurations to satisfy buyers, and lower-volume models are also in a snag. At the moment, Hyundai can only build 20-30 percent of Veloster hatchbacks with turbocharged engines while the US market would apparently support closer to 70 percent.

In order to reverse the sales slide, Hyundai and Kia have stepped up fleet sales of the vehicles they do have by some 50 percent, ringing up a total of 42,400 units in the first quarter. By contrast, Automotive News reports the seven largest automakers increased retail volume by seven percent and fleet sales by four percent as a group.


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  • 91 Comments
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Didn't think these cars could even be considered good enough for rental fleets. Congrats!
      Famsert
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wasn't the peanut gallery on Autoblog predicting the rise of korean automakers and the demise of Japanese ones earlier because they were sooo much better looking? Oops...
        Toronto St. Pats
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Famsert
        Well you don't have to be a genius to figure out that Hyundais, Kias and even Fords can't change quality and durability by simply making "prettier" vehicles. Chrysler tried that in the 90's and failed. You only have to be of average intelligence to figure that out. Guess that makes most people complete morons for thinking otherwise.
        bK
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Famsert
        I guess that shows that the customers aren't stupid.... Same could be said about the Kia Forte when it first came out, everybody was raving about it and an year after they were just piece of junk..
        TopGun
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Famsert
        Well put Famsert. The peanut galleries (not only Autoblog) also spoke of how it was only the domestic makers would stoop so low as to sell to fleets.
      Mr White
      • 1 Year Ago
      Kia and Hyundai look great on paper, but driving one is a whole different story. Their ride quality, reliability, smoothness, and a whole list of other features can't stand up to the Japanese, German, and even some of the Big 3 cars they are competing against. (Cue The Music) "Party rock is in the house tonight!! Everybody just have a good time!!" (Cue the Dancing Rats)!!!
        Tom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mr White
        While you speak the truth, be prepared for the Korean minions who will vote down your comment in defense of their precious brands. The ugly truth is that, while Kia/Hyundai have come a long way in the last 15 years when it comes to DQR, the competition hasn't stood idly by cooling their heels. Great styling has boosted Korean car sales recently, but styling can't overcome shoddy quality and being stranded on the road.
      AngeloD
      • 1 Year Ago
      The gas mileage scandal is not helping Hyundai / KIA at all. I suspect this is a big factor in the sales drop.
        Awhattup
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AngeloD
        Funny thing is... recently the Elantra almost overtook the Civic... that's after the news.
          luigi.tony
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Awhattup
          Yeah, fleet sales really boosted the Elantra sales.
      dohc73
      • 1 Year Ago
      What's the big surprise? I've always believed that Hyundai's success was directly related to the economic downturn and they were in the right place at the right time, but once the economy improved people would go back to trusted nameplates that are historically proven. Not to mention those nameplates would have newer products that would make Hyundai's formula look like everyone else out there. Now Hyundai, who offers products similar to most manufactures now, is left with just a name that whole generation associates with the Hyundai Excel or worse, the Scoupe.
        luigi.tony
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dohc73
        That, and the tsunami that hit Japan, then the flooding in Indonesia which crippled the Japanese makes.
          Mark Rodriguez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @luigi.tony
          How much you do you get paid by Toyota/Honda/Nissan for such tireless promotion for their wares, Luigi? ;)
        SatinSheetMetal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dohc73
        While we all longingly look back at our 9th generation Impala, a car so sweet, so masterfully built that there was no reason to update and so it stayed the same for 8 years. In a class of it's own that car, and no one would even attempt to touch it. Seriously though, they do look good when you jack them up and put 22" chrome spinners on them.
      Dsuupr
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hyundai / Kia has traditionally been cars for people with bad credit. It is no surprise that as people improve their incomes, and there by their credit, the two companies start to suffer. It is not the cars that are the problem, it is the focus of their dealers and their lack of good service provided.
        kompletelykiakrazykarfan@crazycarfan.com
        @Dsuupr
        +1 for the dealers comments. Most dealers are still selling the Hyundai and Kia of 2001. I have said for years Hyundai and Kia need more over-sight of their dealer sales practices.
      reattadudes
      • 1 Year Ago
      its always comical to see all of the poo-pooing about 'fleet sales'. if these are so horrible and are to be avoided at all costs, I have one simple question: who IS supposed to supply the millions of fleet units needed every year?
        roadkill
        • 1 Year Ago
        @reattadudes
        Its worse than that they are smarter than the fleet pro buyers its a crap car cos they use them for heavy duty work go figure?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @reattadudes
        [blocked]
      carlotta
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow! Forget the Koreans, the elephant in the room is Ford's fleet sales, just about 1/3 of production and rising faster than its retail sales. http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130415/RETAIL01/304159986/hyundai-kia-raises-fleet-sales-as-retail-sales-slide#axzz2QXEodJFv
        Basil Exposition
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carlotta
        Have you been living under a rock? Your "Elephant in the Room" has been common knowledge for 50 years. 1/2 - 1/3 to fleet is standard for Ford and standard for most automakers in their home market.
          carlotta
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          No, I leave rocks to you Nasal Explosion. Ford's fleets sales are not normal for a first rate product and a sign of how poorly they do with actual consumers, rather that airport terminals.
          Basil Exposition
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          Edit to above - "1/4 - 1/3" - not 1/2
      Luke Scrase
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's amazing how half of the commenters on here seem to think the know more and better than the people that run one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world. Just imagine how successful you could all be if you put together the Autoblog Commenters Car Company, it would be the most profitable business ever. You are wasting your talents!
      Master Austin
      • 1 Year Ago
      And their residual values will continue to drop. You would think they would have learned by now.
        tabletalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Master Austin
        Hyundai has the third highest residual value in the industry, and Elanta, Santa Fe, and Azera have the best residual values in their segments. https://www.alg.com/alg-announces-14th-annual-residual-value-awards/
          NightFlight
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tabletalk
          Please don't post facts here, the haters don't like facts.
      Dean Hammond
      • 1 Year Ago
      some types of fleet sales are good, unfortunately I beleive Hyundais interpretation of \"fleet\" is rental agencies....which is NOT good....
        whatamooseiam
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dean Hammond
        Even with the 50% increase in fleets (from 10% to 15%), it's still the 3rd lowest fleet percentage out of the big 7. It's fleet rate was slightly less than Toyota last year and slightly more than Toyota this year, but you don't hear Toyota having any problems with fleets, so I think Hyundai is still on good ground... 1. Honda = 2% fleets this year 2. Toyota = 12% fleets this year 3. Hyundai = 15% fleets this year 4. Nissan = 22% fleets this year 5. Chrysler = 26% fleets this year 6. GM = 27% fleets this year 7. Ford = 32% fleets this year
      atc98092
      • 1 Year Ago
      I had a Kia rental in Dallas in February. What a miserable ride. The Bluetooth would never reconnect to my phone after pairing, so I gave up on it. Noisy, rough ride, uncomfortable, lack of power. If I\'m ever offered one again on a trip I\'ll pay for an upgrade before I get another one of those.
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