Korean Manufacturers Break Monthly Sales Records...Again

By Keith Buglewicz | August 01, 2012
It is only the most stringent of journalistic ethics that keeps us from simply copy-pasting last month's Korean sales story into this space. Not because we're lazy, but because it has been the same story now for months on end. Turns out if you build a good car and sell it at a reasonable price, lots of people will buy them. Who knew? Both Korean manufacturers—that's Hyundai and Kia—posted record breaking months. Again. Hyundai says the only thing holding it back from selling even more cars was an inability to make them fast enough. Again. Kia stretched its streak of record-setting sales by another month. Again. Oh, and both are up year-over-year as well. Again. Seeing a pattern?
Despite the copy-paste temptation, the numbers themselves do change, so here's this month's list of winners and so-called losers. Hyundai Winners
  • Sonata: The Hyundai Sonata led the way with Hyundai's overall sales. Up only slightly from last year, the Sonata's 20,978 units sold accounted for roughly 1/3rd of all Hyundai sales.
  • Elantra: The Hyundai Elantra managed to add about 3,400 vehicles to its total compared to last year, topping out the month at 18,512, a 22-percent increase. Credit the new Elantra Coupe and Elantra GT hatchback for the bump.
  • Azera: It's no surprise that the all-new Hyundai Azera is handily outselling its predecessor. Hyundai moved 977 into driveways last month, a 578-percent increase over last year.
  • Veracruz: Hyundai sold nearly 400 more Veracruz crossovers in July than it did in July 2011. This one honestly surprised us, considering that it never really sold well. Must be some hefty incentives working a little magic there.
Hyundai Losers
  • Accent: Fuel prices fell a little in July, and so did sales of Hyundai's fuel-sipping subcompact, which were down about 24 percent compared to the same month last year. However, Hyundai blames supply shortages for the lower sales.
  • Santa Fe: With a new Santa Fe just around the corner, interest in the old one is flagging at a considerable rate. Sales fell by 43 percent.
  • Genesis: The big luxury sedan and sporty coupe's combined sales are down 11 percent for the month of July compared to last year. Exactly what the mix is, we're not sure, since Hyundai doesn't break them out for us.
Kia Winners
  • Optima: The Optima midsize sedan nearly doubled its sales compared to last year, with 13,317 finding new homes.
  • Rio: The recently redesigned Rio is making new friends everywhere it goes, with sales up 361 percent compared to last year.
  • Soul: The funky looking Soul was flat for the month, but is up more than 8,000 for the year so far.
Kia Losers
  • Forte: The compact Kia Forte sedan and hatchback sales slipped a little this month by 18 percent; the updated 2014 Kia Forte can't come soon enough.
  • Sorento: The Sorento crossover saw its sales decline a little this month as well, down 24 percent compared to this time last year.
  • Sedona: The Kia minivan—yes, Kia makes a minivan—saw its sales decline by more than half, dropping 58 percent compared to last July's sales. It's tough to compete against new Odysseys, Siennas, and Quests with a six-year-old van, but Kia may give the market another try soon.
Source: Hyundai, Kia