February Sales: All Your Base Are Belong To Korea

By Blake Z. Rong | March 02, 2012
Forgive me for dragging a dated late-90s video game reference (and what can rightfully be called the Adam and Eve of all Internet memes) through the mud and onto the tele-screens of your short-term memories. But seriously, the Korean companies were on their game this month. If the Hyundai Motor Group were a sports team, it'd be Syracuse basketball. If it was an album, it'd be Thriller. If Hyundai and Kia were a buddy-cop drama, they'd be Miami Vice: racking up sales and taking down lesser companies, while rolling around in a sweet-as-hell Genesis convertible which doesn't yet exist—but is a thing that definitely needs to happen, guys. You get the idea. Hyundai posted its best-ever February sales of 51,151 cars moved, which towers over its 43,533-car figure from just a year ago. Sister brand Kia did the same, while setting its 18th consecutive monthly sales record. The hits just keep on coming, it seems. Hyundai's Winners:
  • Sonata: The perennial family truckster saw a sales increase of about 1,000 units, seeing its final tally at 17,425 vehicles. Not too shabby for a car that, for all intents and purposes, still looks like a cross between jaws and Jaws.
  • Elantra: Like the Sonata, its sales also increased by about 1,000, leaving behind 13,820 cars.
  • Equus: If you can call an increase of 51 cars a success, then yes, the ultra-lux, ultra-limited Equus was a resounding success. About 284 folks last month eschewed badge snobbery for the chance to sit in some sweet massaging seats.
Hyundai's Losers:
  • Veracruz: Seriously, why still waste perfectly good ingots of steel and fake vinyl compounds on this boat anchor of a thing? The crossover has little place in Hyundai's lineup other than competing in the "albatross/neck" category against Dodge's Caliber.
  • Azera: There's a new one on the way, but 13 people still wanted to snap up a "classic." Last year, 167 did. What does that tell you about the buying tastes of the American public? Hopefully nothing. But we do imagine that there are some crafty salesmen who are currently blowing their quarterly bonuses right now.
Kia's Winners:
  • Optima: Evidently, Adrianna Lima really sells cars. Optima sales climbed from 4,844 to 11,558 vehicles, which may be explained by such factors as a quality product, extreme price undercutting, and an ad campaign that consists mostly of powerslides and Motley Crüe. But we like to chalk it up to the classic adage: sex sells. Maybe Hyundai can get Alison Brie to peddle the 2013 Azera.
  • Rio: Rio sales almost doubled, from 1,852 to 3,598 cars in 2011. Precisely none of them are race cars.
  • Soul: You know you've got Soul, America. 10,876 of them, to be precise. Which is also precisely 4,192 more than the year before. That's more Soul than The Supremes eating at Motor City.
Kia's Losers:
  • Kia's SUVs: the Sorrento and the Sportage all lost some sales, down by 555 and 255 vehicles, respectively. My friend drove—maybe "trundled" was the right word—from Long Island, New York, to Alberta, Canada once in a 1999 Sportage that she nicknamed "Harvey." If Kia used this as a selling point, maybe Sportage sales would plummet even further.