Hyundai, Kia global sales up thanks to SUV hit in U.S., China

Combined global sales of South Korea’s largest and second-largest automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. climbed 6.7 percent on year to 672,000 units in May, thanks to an increase in sales of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) in the world’s two largest auto markets – China and the United States, Hyundai Motor Group said recently. It is the first on-year rise in their monthly car shipments in fi ve months.
According to Hyundai and Kia, their total global shipments during the January-May period amounted to 3,139,000 units, down 4.1 percent from the same period of last year. Their sales fell 13.7 percent on year in January, 3.8 percent in February, 1.7 percent in March and 7.7 percent in April.
Snapping the losing streak, the Korean auto group’s sales at overseas markets gained 5.4 percent on year in May – in particular, in the U.S. and China. Hyundai and Kia’s total shipments to China jumped 16.6 percent to 150,000 units in May from a year earlier, the highest sales record for May in the country. Market experts expect their sales to the world’s largest auto markets are likely to continue to improve for the next few months partly because of the base effect as their sales in China had been sluggish from May to August last year.

The automakers in May also delivered combined 133,900 units to the U.S., up 6.3 percent from a year earlier to all-time monthly high. Hyundai and Kia’s total sales made up 8.7 percent in the U.S. market, the highest this year.
The recovery in sales in the U.S. and China largely owe to growing demand for their SUVs that sold 53,000 units last month in China, up a whopping 85 percent on year. Hyundai’s fl agship SUV models Tucson and Santa Fe as well as Kia’s Sportage drove their U.S. sales in May, according to the companies. Total sales of the three SUV models surged from 88 percent to 91 percent from a year ago. An unnamed offi cial at Hyundai Motor Group said Hyundai and Kia are upbeat for the remainder of the year as newer Tucson and Sportage model have been faring well in key markets and releases of compact SUVs Niro and Creta are planned for the second half.

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