DAILY - UPDATED
Kia and Hyundai are No. 1 in US for mid-size cars
With their combined sales figures, the South Korean carmakers Kia and Hyundai have topped the mid-size segment in the United States.
This milestone was reached this May, when Hyundai and Kia sold 30.155 cars, among which were 22.754 Sonatas from Hyundai and 7.401 Optimas from Kia.
The two companies had topped the sales figures for March too, and with the latest numbers, their dominance in mid-size car segment is pointing at a new trend in the market. Already, the two manufacturers have captured about 19.0 percent of the mid-size sedan market, compared to the second place manufacturer GM, which has 18.8 percent of the market.
Hyundai and Kia have long had a reputation of cheap cars, but with the latest rankings, experts aver that the old attitudes towards the two manufacturers are changing. A company representative noted that, the ranking signifies that U.S. consumers no long consider Hyundai and Kia to be low-end car brands.
The mid-size segment is one of the most important car segments in the industry, trailing only the compact cars segment in sales volume. Local American and Japanese manufacturers such as GM and Toyota, respectively, have long dominated this segment, so the latest dominance of the Korean companies is another new trend.
In the year 2009, Toyota was the biggest seller in the midsize segment, selling a whopping 21.8 percent of all cars sold in the segment. It was followed by Honda at 17.5 percent and Nissan at 12.4 percent. At 9.6%, Hyundai and Kia had a combined share of less than 10%.
Making some fundamental changes in their marketing efforts, Hyundai and Kia promoted their top cars such as Sonata and Optima, with the result that their market share rose to about 13.1 percent in 2010. Toyota’s dominance lessened, with a reduced market share of 19.2%. Honda and Nissan were still selling more cars than Hyundai and Kia, with a market share of 16.6% and 13.4% respectively.
The trend of more sales for the Korean companies continued in 2011 too. One unexpected event that allowed Hyundai and Kia to catch-up in 2011 was the unfortunate March earthquake and Tsunami, which disrupted the supply lines of Japanese car manufacturers, including Honda and Nissan.
Hyundai and Kia expect that their car sales will rise in other segments of the industry too. For the first time ever, Hyundai and Kia share more than 10 percent of the U.S. market, a landmark that was achieved in May. In another interesting news for the group, Hyundai Motor was selected as the best car manufacturer by the British consumer rights group “Which?” by beating Toyota and BMW, among others.