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Hyundai, Kia do well in U.S. market in May with SUVs

Posted June. 04, 2020 07:46,   

Updated June. 04, 2020 07:46


The Hyundai Kia Automotive Group’s sales in May rose slightly after the worst sales record in April in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The resumption of economic activities and the sales growth of SUVs have led the group’s sales increase.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors each sold 57,619 and 45,817 units in May, showing 69.6 percent and 44.5 percent increase respectively from the previous month, the automotive group announced on Tuesday (local time). The company seems to be in a full recovery mode compared to April when its plants stopped operation and the national sales network was paralyzed due to the spread of COVID-19. Both companies recorded over 200,000 units in sales from the beginning of this year to May. Hyundai Motor Company was one month late to reach the 200,000-mark compared to last year while Kia Motors were on a similar schedule.

Sales recovery in May seems to have been the result of economic activity resumption in the U.S., which has led to the resumption of sales and distribution networks across the country and increased consumption by customers whose shopping had been restricted due to quarantine measures. The efforts to boost untact sales online also contributed to the recovery.

The group’s sales strategy also worked well. Amid the demand increase for SUVs, Hyundai Motor Company’s Tucson recorded 15,552 units in sales, which is 64 less than a year ago, in May alone. The Palisade, which was launched this year, also broke the record of the largest monthly sales volume with sales of 7,866 units in May. Meanwhile, sedans, such as the Elantra and the Sonata, are still struggling with each experiencing 51.6 percent and 31.9 percent sales decrease during the same period. As a result, the share of SUVs in Hyundai Motor Company’s total sales in May stood at 71 percent. Kia Motors also saw the sales boost of SUVs with its existing models, such as the Sportage and the Sorento, as well as small suv Seltos.

However, it is unclear whether the recovery of May will continue. Anti-racism protests are escalating across the country and there is no visibility in terms of when COVID-19 will disappear. The Hyundai Kia Automotive Group will focus more on untact sales promotion but its performance is expected to be less than its pre-COVID-19 levels. Market research company IHS Markit also forecasted that this year’s passenger car sales volume in the U.S. will drop 26.7 percent from the previous year to 12.5 million units due to the delayed recovery of consumer sentiment.

Hyung-Seok Seo skytree08@donga.com