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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.

24 thoughts on “Kia and Hyundai are No. 1 in US for mid-size cars

  1. Just wait till Kia gets it next huge “bump” once the new 2012 Kia Rio and Rio5 are Launched! I wonder if its possible to Pre-Order a new Kia Rio5 once the prices and options are finally released? Most domestic vehicles can be pre-ordered for early delivery by Dealerships. I think both Hyundai and Kia dealers just get whatever they are sent based on their individual allocation allowance. I doubt they can special order or specify a particular vehicle with a certain color or option content. That leaves just random luck, dealer searching and dealer swaps.

  2. This is what happens when Toyota and Honda sit on their A$$’s living off of past successes(like the Big 3 did)then all of a sudden find themselves on the outside looking in!

  3. 7000 optimas? that is really bad. I told you that commercial was futile.

  4. 7000 Optimas is all Korea can ship, just wait until they are built here in the USA. Kia should be able to keep up with demand better. Right now Korea supply’s all the world with Optimas.

  5. I bet the sales of the Optima jump hugely with the made-in -America 2012 model. I would bet on it. Also, isn’t this the first time the Soul hits the number one spot? Can’t even imagine the sales bump it will get with the 2012 model.

  6. Once Kia makes their compact class as competitive (hopefully more competitive) as the Elantra, Hyundai-Kia will maybe grab the number one spot for the compact class, too. Now…they just have to reach that milestone APART.

  7. H-K has already taken the most share in the compact market. They sold 28,183 for June. Cruze sold 24,896 to give GM second.

  8. Greg is talking about Kia alone making their compact segment more competitive. Yes, Hyundai’s new Elantra is being received very well, though.

  9. IMO, If and when Kia America expands its Dealership network and makes sufficient inventory available of it hot selling line of vehicles, it will close the gap significantly between their sales and that of their Corporate owners, Hyundai. Kia`s styling, option content, and superior choice of exciting exterior colors will make it the logical choice with Consumers considering they both share almost identical mechanical components and Warranties.

  10. “7000 Optimas is all Korea can ship, just wait until they are built here in the USA. Kia should be able to keep up with demand better. Right now Korea supply’s all the world with Optimas.”

    We will see about that. I think the Soul is made in Korea. And yet the Soul is outselling the Optima. That is curious to say.

    I” bet the sales of the Optima jump hugely with the made-in -America 2012 model. I would bet on it. Also, isn’t this the first time the Soul hits the number one spot? Can’t even imagine the sales bump it will get with the 2012 model.”

    The soul now has a six speed transmission and direct injection. People find the Soul an more compelling purchase.
    I do hope you guys are right, when the OPtima is made in West Point Georgia. They better have a spot on commercial and marketing campaign for it. And they need to target the NFL not the NBA.

    “Once Kia makes their compact class as competitive (hopefully more competitive) as the Elantra, Hyundai-Kia will maybe grab the number one spot for the compact class, too. ”
    With Schreyer and Hyundai motors backing Kia, there is no reason why Kia can’t compete with or even rise against Hyundai and their competitors. There needs to be a sophisticated marketing campaign seduces the individual to buy a Koup, Rio, and Optima. THe logical aspect of the human being will be lured by the 40 MPG, sharp looks, safe features, and sporty ride.

    “MO, If and when Kia America expands its Dealership network and makes sufficient inventory available of it hot selling line of vehicles, it will close the gap significantly between their sales and that of their Corporate owners, Hyundai. Kia`s styling, option content, and superior choice of exciting exterior colors will make it the logical choice with Consumers considering they both share almost identical mechanical components and Warranties.”

    That’s true, but people are still so called – patriotic to non-American multi-national corporations like FORD and GM. It will take MUCH convincing to sway people to buy an OPTIMA, when a Daewoo and Opel designed Malibu will be of similar price range, competitive styling, and decent engine choices. THat is why people need to be convinced that KIA is a friendly Automaker that is careful about Safety, Features, performance, and coolness.
    MOst Likely, just being funny and creative will start seducing so called patriotic customers away from the Edge, and into a Sportage or Sorrento. IN which, the Sorrento is selling twice the volume compared to the Sportage.
    Accredit the sorrento success to a good solid foundation in automobile architecture, and clever marketing.

  11. sagittarius, That bit about the typical mentality of US Consumers having a built in “Patriotic” bias tilted to purchasing Ford or GM over a (foreign) Manufacturers Brand does not hold up! Any problem with consumers excepting the Hyundai Elantra or the Hyundai Sonata even before they were being assembled in Alabama? Every year thousands of Honda Accords & Civics as well as Toyota Camry`s built in Japan especially early in a new model year launch, are inter-mixed with US built models with no push back. Anyone check the VIN # to see if “J” starts the sequence? Hyundai has no problem selling its Tucson SUV assembled in Korea. Everyone excepts that the build quality at their Ulan Plant in Korea is second to none. Why it is more difficult to sway someone into purchasing an Optima over a Sonata is beyond my comprehension. Its based I believe on having new modern upscale Kia Stores to sell their vehicles. Hyundai has made huge advances making new and present Franchise holders put up state of the art impressive Dealerships. Half of Kia Stores look like shabby Used Car Lots. That must change, otherwise public “perception” will remain giving Kia a second tier image compared to its sibling, Hyundai.

  12. No commercial can sell what we do not have. I have no idea if the Optima Superbowl commercial did any good or if the car is just a runaway hit. What I can tell you is that Kia could sell twice the number of Optimas with no commercials if we just had the inventory. And as far as Soul ouselling Optima and they are both imported. For the first 18 months Soul was out it sold less than half what it is now selling. Look for a huge dip in Soul numbers in the next couple of months. Soul took off because they had way more inventory in Soul than anything but Sorrento over the last 4 months. 6 months ago I had 40 Souls on the ground and Kia was offering me 20 more a week that I was turning down. Now if I get 2 a week I am lucky.

  13. “. Its based I believe on having new modern upscale Kia Stores to sell their vehicles. Hyundai has made huge advances making new and present Franchise holders put up state of the art impressive Dealerships. Half of Kia Stores look like shabby Used Car Lots. That must change, otherwise public “perception” will remain giving Kia a second tier image compared to its sibling, Hyundai.”

    That is interesting what you said. The question is how much of an impact to dealerships affect the consumer’s ability to purchase a vehicle? Secondly, if KIA’s dealerships need upgrading, why is the Sorrento and the Kia Soul selling extremely well, beyond Kia’s hopes and expectations. I bet Beyond your’s as well.

    Regarding the dealership showroom, customer service factor, if you can enlighten me on that subject that would be great. I would like to study more on that subject.

  14. Need Proof of Kia Image Control urgency? Check out West Palm Beach Kia, in WPB, FL. A Shed with an old garage, a large unpaved lot! Used Car Dealers with Buy Here/Pay Here Signs look more impressive. Kia need to have Franchise Dealerships operate in New World Class Facilities to bring Kia up to Hyundai`s perceived quality standards.

  15. sagittarius, Be honest, have you ever seen a BMW, Audi, Lexus, Infinity, Mercedes Benz being retailed out of a Sub-Standard facility? If your buy a vehicle second hand or “off-lease”, it might work. The example I posted about WPB Kia is just an example. Actually, I have had my own Kia serviced there and they have a GREAT Service Department, but damn, Image and Packaging means a lot! And don`t give me the argument that operating out of a sub-standard facility offers consumers a potential lower price. This Kia Dealership has the same or (higher) so called “Dealer Fee`s” as any other Kia Dealership in the area. KMA “must” demand newer and top of the line Stores to sell their line of Vehicles, period!

  16. I have never seen a Kia take off as fast as the Optima. The bashing of the commercial, is this based on any marketing education, industry information or just your opinion? Advertising is a strange animal, what works is a mystery to me but if the ad is strange enough to get you to pay attention it just may be better that a car add that tries to boast how their car is best in class because they tell you so. As for the dealer network there are many Kia dealers that are subpar on facility and on personnel. This is changing and quicker that could be expected. Dealers put up millions of dollars for a franchise and the “brick and mortar”. My best guess is that Kia is just now starting to show any return on investment with many dealers looking in to the future for a breakeven point. I have seen Chrysler and Saturn push dealers to invest millions on facility updates only to put the dealer if not themselves out of business. Most buyers will buy a new car at the dealership that has the best selection and best price. It is not that the other dealer has to charge more, they have to be competitive. They just have less left over when it is all said and done.

  17. “sagittarius, Be honest, have you ever seen a BMW, Audi, Lexus, Infinity, Mercedes Benz being retailed out of a Sub-Standard facility?”

    No, but Kia automobiles. are not supposed to try to be like the luxury marques. A better comparison would be Toyota or Honda. You might be right, in that Kia needs to better take care of the dealerships in America. I don’t know how strong the correlation between nice clean cut dealerships and automobile purchasing there is. A nice logical study should be done to find the precise nature of likelyhood that a nice dealership will enhance and facilitate automobile purchases.

    “his Kia Dealership has the same or (higher) so called “Dealer Fee`s” as any other Kia Dealership in the area. KMA “must” demand newer and top of the line Stores to sell their line of Vehicles, period!”
    Well maybe this is a case of a shady dealer trying to keep his margins up by not investing in real-estate, which may or may not increase sales of Kia automobiles.

    I also am quite curious to see why the Soul and the Sorrento are still selling so well, if the dealership is that unpleasant for the con-sumer. Methinks that psychological indoctrination, through clever advertisements , coupled with solid quaiity automobiles . overcame the so called mental firewall or stigmas against the Korean automobiles.

    “. The bashing of the commercial, is this based on any marketing education, industry information or just your opinion? ”
    Though the youtube counters the Optima 2011 commercial at almost 2 million views, clearly, the sales charts don’t reflect the desire of the TV viewer or internet viewer to check out an Optima. You could say I am bashing the commercial based on its misguided and unfocused advertising direction.

    However, my opinion on Psychological conditioning is a well re-searched science, that governments carefully pays attention to. I told you that Bernays, Edward was a man that was consciously manipulating the behaviour of the mass to direct the outcome of Wars, Corporation Sales, and more importantly government agendas.

    The outcome of the Banana republic pertaining to United Fruit Company. Bernays portrayed the non-communist leader of Guatemala as a communist to scare the Daylights of American People. The Military of America went in and took back control over the Valuable fruit in Guatemala.

    Young women smoked cigarettes called _Freedom Torches, to celebrate and fight for Women’s rights in the 1920’s.
    Clearly, the Cigarette Companies were thrilled. But more importantly government started move their agenda of utilizing Women into the workforce. Bernays was behind the scheme to pay women to light Cigarettes.

    So No, this is not my opinion, and I suggest when you have time, read into Edward Bernays, the newphew of Sigmund Freud. You will see what I am talking about.

  18. How many Toyota or Honda Dealerships in America operate their NEW Car Stores out of a Used Car Lot Shed? You don`t need to waste money, time, and resources to figure that “no brainer” out! KIa need to insist high quality (brick & mortar) Stores to continue with their “Quality” Image.

  19. I promise there wont be any animals for the K7 or K9 if they come to USA. They were trying to appeal to young families and young singles with the Soul and Sorento.

  20. All those cute puppets, animals, hamsters, might work in future ads towards the growing young families of Gay, Bi, and Transgendered couples emerging into the Marketplace thanks to “Same-Sex” Marriage and Civil Unions. Wonder when Texas Gov Rick Perry and Florida`a Gov Rick Scott are going to dress up in Drag and start marching in their Rainbow Parades? Michelle Bachmann will be the Parade Queen along with her effeminate sissy Husband. Maybe NJ Gov Chris Christy can be the Parade Marshall while waddling along stuffing his fat face with a Sabrett Hot Dog!

  21. “American politics are uncalled for on this global-audience car blog.”
    I was talking to phiip, If you would be polite and not inter-rupt our conversation i would appreciate it.
    “All those cute puppets, animals, hamsters, might work in future ads towards the growing young families of Gay, Bi, and Transgendered couples emerging into the Marketplace thanks to “Same-Sex” Marriage and Civil Unions. Wonder when Texas Gov Rick Perry and Florida`a Gov Rick Scott are going to dress up in Drag and start marching in their Rainbow Parades? Michelle Bachmann will be the Parade Queen along with her effeminate sissy Husband. Maybe NJ Gov Chris Christy can be the Parade Marshall while waddling along stuffing his fat face with a Sabrett Hot Dog!”

    That is hilariously funny ! Actually I can imagine these scenarios playing out. Christie dressing up like Madonna in a gay pride parade!. Totally classic… best post here.

  22. sorry to be rude Greg, I was responding to a question Philip asked. this is a car blog. I am trying to help Kia sell more cars using psychological techniques.

  23. I apologize. I will attempt to “stay on topic”. I enjoy Kia products and Im awaiting my 2012 Rio5 Hatchback. I had my Wife put a “Parental Block” on out Televisions so that I would`nt accidentally access Fox News Network, and obviously it must have failed or it went back to its default mode. I took my Xanax, and I`m ok again. Maybe a dose of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert will get me “refreshed”.

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