Hyundai-Kia Group Joins Top 5 Club
By Blake Muntzinger
Hard work and determination paid off for the Hyundai-Kia Auto Group. It performed no small feat by becoming the world’s fifth largest auto manufacturer selling 3,961,629 vehicles in 2007. That total bested the likes of Honda (3,831,000 units) and Nissan (3,675,574 units), according to Automotive News’ 2008 Global Data Book released on Tuesday. This puts the group behind Toyota, GM, Volkswagen, and Ford, respectively.
Hyundai-Kia’s sales have steadily increased since 1999 when it was ranked eleventh. Throughout that time, new factories and R&D centers have cropped up worldwide to keep up with demand, including in the United States, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, India, China, and Brazil. All of this happened while the American manufacturers streamlined their assets, especially at home.
In a press release, Kia Motors Vice-Chairman and CEO Ik-Hwan Kim said, “We have been stressing the value of our products over the last few years and our efforts have not gone unnoticed by the public or the industry, neither quantitatively or qualitatively.” With its 10-year/100,000 mile warranty, competitive pricing, quality, and numerous awards, it’s difficult to avoid a Hyundai or Kia’s value. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2007 Kia Sedona, Sportage, Sorento, Optima, Spectra, and Rondo five stars in its frontal crash test; Strategic Vision gave Hyundai’s 2006 Azera and Tucson the Total Value Awards for the Best Large Car and Best Small SUV ownership experiences.
In the US, both brands celebrated increased sales for June, contrasting the much-publicized declines from many of its competitors. Kia’s sales rose 7.6% from June 2007 with 28,292 units sold; Hyundai broke the 50,000 unit mark for the first time, releasing 50,033 vehicles into the wild (up 1.3%). Judging from the Soul concept unveiled in Geneva, the Spectra-replacing Forte, and Hyundai’s Genesis, the success streak will likely keep going.
The Global Top 10 Automakers are ranked below.
1. Toyota 9,366,000
2. GM 8,902,252
3. Volkswagen 6,191,618
4. Ford 5,964,000
5. Hyundai-Kia 3,961,629
6. Honda 3,831,000
7. Nissan 3,675,574
8. PSA/Peugeot 3,428,400
9. Chrysler 2,676,268
10. Fiat 2,620,864
It’s important to note the changes the companies have made throughout the list, not just in rank, but sales too. Comparing this list to one from just two years ago, when the 2006 Global Top 10 was released, third-place Ford sold 6,208,700 vehicles worldwide in 2005; that figure decreased to 5,964,000 for 2007 and fell to fourth. Volkswagen surpassed Ford by hitting the six million mark making it third. Chrysler’s 2007 figures are slightly misleading since its pre-divorce sales were registered with DaimlerChrysler in 2005, falling from 4,854,700 units (#4) to 2,676,268 units (#9). Both Toyota and GM have increased global sales, but now Toyota leads the pack. Fiat’s the newcomer, kicking Renault out of the Top 10. Honda and Nissan also saw gains.
With the auto market in its current state, it is anyone’s guess how the list will look next year.
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