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.