August Sales for Korean Automakers Show They Still Can Do No Wrong

By Jacob Brown | September 07, 2012
Running a Korean automaker in the U.S. right now must feel a whole lot like coaching LeBron James. Sure, you get tantrums and minor foibles every once in a while, but more often than not, you're going to start expecting a stellar performance every night. Yeah, the Korean automakers, Hyundai and Kia, both just recorded their best Augusts ever. Hyundai moved 61,099 vehicles, and 50,028 Kia cars and crossovers made their way to new owners. Both were led by strong sales of their midsize sedans, the Hyundai Sonata tallying 19,624 new owners and the Kia Optima finding 13,949 garages, more than double last year's numbers for the Kia. Below is a breakdown of other notable sales numbers. Hyundai Winners
  • With 959 new Hyundai Azera full-size sedans making their way out the door, the automaker recorded a sizable 977-percent increase. Of course, that's not hard to do when everyone forgot you had a full-size sedan on your lot to begin with.
  • The Veloster continues to rack up sturdy sales figures, 3,708 in August, only helped by the addition of the significantly better-driving Veloster Turbo version.
  • The compact Elantra isn't too far from overtaking the Sonata with 17,989 finding good homes. That's nearly 3,000 more than last August's numbers. We're betting the new Elantra coupe and Elantra GT hatchback had a lot to do with it.
  • The Veracruz three-row crossover quickly fell off the radar and hasn't been much of a factor in Hyundai's success. Somehow, even on its way out the door, it found 963 takers last month. That's up 106 crossovers.
Hyundai Losers
  • We're sure Hyundai is just clearing out its inventory before the new Santa Fe hits showrooms...or at least we hope that's the case. The automaker's traditionally most-popular crossover tanked last month, off nearly 50 percent.
  • Hyundai doesn't break down how many Genesis Coupes and Genesis sedans it sells, but with 2,262 total moving out the doors last month, we're pretty sure it's not much of either.
Kia Winners
  • Kia's keepin' it Rio. Sorry, that was a horrible pun. Regardless, the automaker moved 3,602 of its subcompact, up nearly 3,000 units from August 2011.
  • Another big winner is the Kia Soul, probably our favorite car the Kia makes. It's also probably the favorite car of 10,191 new owners last month, a whopping 33 percent.
  • The Forte compact car also posted solid numbers, 7,300 sold.
Kia Losers
  • Kia's crossovers and utility vehicles took a beating. Sportage, Sorento, and Sedona minivan numbers were all down. The economy is doing better, so it's impossible to use that excuse. The Sportage is a newer crossover, so that excuse isn't valid, either. While the Sedona is getting replaced for 2014—and the Sorento is getting a heavy update for the same time period—we can't help but think a little more recognition they exist would go a long way. Come on, when was the last time you saw ads for any of the three of them?
For more information on August's sales figures, be sure to check out Todd Lassa's column at Motor Trend.
Sources: Hyundai, Kia