Hyundai Motor Group, Korea’s leading automaker with Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors under its wing, raced ahead with record sales in May in the United States. The group saw its U.S. market share exceed 10 percent for the first time in May. According to Hyundai’s U.S. unit, the group sold a total of 107,426 vehicles in the United States last month, up 21 percent from a year ago.
The group captured 10.1 percent of the U.S. market, which is its highest share since it entered the market 25 years ago, and the monthly sales record was broken for the fifth consecutive month. Kia motors sold 48,212 units, posting a growth rate of 53.4 percent, while Hyundai Motor posted 21 percent in yearly growth with sales of 59,214 vehicles.
It is highly significant that the Hyundai-Kia Group ranked fifth in the U.S. market, beating out Honda and Nissan and closing in on Toyota. This means that Hyundai has established its image as a quality brand, shaking off a cheap initial image. There are several explanations for the positive reception of Hyundai cars in the U.S. market. First of all, the demand for compact and mid-sized sedans is robust, as gas prices remain in the four dollar per gallon range.
The March 11 earthquake in Japan also played a part. The earthquake seriously affected Japan’s automobile and parts production capacity, and this accordingly has benefited Hyundai accordingly. In addition, Hyundai’s new models are proving to be an appealing choice for consumers in the United States in terms of performance, design and quality.
More fundamentally however, Hyundai’s rigorous quality control has reached the hearts of U.S. consumers. The group chairman personally has presided over a meeting to check quality twice a month. Hyundai established its first plant in the United States in 2005. The Alabama plant is in charge of the whole lifecycle of a vehicle, from production and sales to after-sales service. The full-fledged incorporation into the United States has paved the way for Hyundai’s qualitative growth.
In addition, the Hyundai auto group has made aggressive marketing efforts, especially since 2008. Under the slogan, “Big Voices in Big Places,” the group made Super Bowl TV commercials and advertised on a Times Square billboard since November 2009. Its “assurance” car return program received a particularly positive response from U.S. consumers during the global financial crisis. The program allowed customers to return newly purchased Hyundai vehicles, should they lose their jobs during their first year of ownership.
Hyundai’s Genesis, Sonata, and Avante and Kia’s Sportage R won AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards in 2011. AutoPacific is an automotive market research and product-consulting firm of the United States. Moreover, according to Kelley Blue Book’s review on used cars, Hyundai ranked sixth among 37 automakers in terms of “Automotive Brand Indicator or ABI,” in the first quarter of last year, and ranked first in customer loyalty. Flush with solid performance in the United States, Hyundai has also made remarkable growth in European and Chinese markets.
The double-digit U.S. market share is a splendid achievement to prove the outstanding quality of Korean automobiles. It is hoped that the achievement will lay a firm foundation for the Korean automobile industry to come to the forefront of the global market.