Posted December. 13, 2010 11:23,
Hyundai Motor said Sunday that sales in the U.S. broke 500,000 units for the first time since Koreas top automaker entered the market with its Pony compact sedan 24 years ago.
Hyundai sold 160,000 units in the U.S. in 1986 and 263,610 in 1987, but its early success did not last due to poor quality and service networks. Annual sales in the U.S. began to fall in 1988 and plummeted to fewer than 100,000 units in 1998.
By that time, Hyundai vehicles had become a laughingstock in U.S. media and comedy programs.
The carmaker bounced back starting in 1999, when Chung Mong-koo took the helm of the company and started a quality improvement drive. Annual U.S. sales then surged to more than 300,000 units in 2001 and 400,000 in 2003.
In 2005, Hyundai opened an assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama.
Leading this years sales was the new Sonata mid-size sedan, which was launched in February in the U.S. Sales of the sedan this year hit 183,295 units through last month, up nearly 50 percent than that of the previous model.
The new Sonata will likely to become the first Korean car to rank among the 10 bestselling cars in the U.S. market.
Hyundais U.S. sales rose 23 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months of this year, the highest growth among the top 15 sellers in the U.S. market. The carmaker will accelerate sales growth by introducing its luxury sedan Equus, the Sonata Hybrid, and the newest model of the compact sedan Avante.