Hyundai/Kia will likely top Toyota/Lexus for No. 3 sales spot in May

If forecasts from 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, 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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