U.S. sales of vehicles made by Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. are expected to surpass the 1 million mark for the first time this year, fueled by a surge in consumer demand, the carmakers said Thursday.
The two companies, part of the world's fifth-largest automaker Hyundai Motor Group, said their combined sales in the U.S. market jumped 26 percent on-year to 950,411 units in the first 10 months of this year.
Hyundai, South Korea's largest carmaker, said it sold 545,316 cars in the cited period, with Kia, the No. 2 automotive company, reporting sales hitting 405,095. Sales include vehicles shipped from South Korea and those made in the U.S.
At the present pace, the 1 million mark will be reached before the end of November, with annual sales likely to reach 1.05 million units, or an 18.2 percent increase from 2010, the group said.
The U.S. market share of Hyundai and Kia stood at 9 percent in the January-October period, which placed it sixth in the country, although it may be able sidestep Honda Motor Co. to finish as one of the top five carmakers by year's end.
The U.S. market represents roughly 20 percent of all cars sold in the world with only six carmakers, including established giants such as General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Co., having sold more than 1 million units in the country on an annual basis.
The automotive group said this year's sales achievement comes 25 years after Hyundai sold its first car in the North American market in 1986. Kia started exporting to the United States in 1994.
Total sales of cars made by the two companies for the U.S. market already exceeded 10 million units as of October, the group said.
Hyundai and Kia, which jointly sold over 5.36 million cars in both the domestic and overseas markets as of late October, said that big improvements in quality, design and mileage have allowed their vehicles to be accepted by middle-class Americans.
While economic uncertainties remain, it plans to strive for double-digit sales growth in 2012, with continued emphasis on upgrading fuel economy and quality to further boost consumer confidence, the group said.
Hyundai said it aims to launch a brand new Azera full-size sedan next year along with the next generation Genesis Coupe, both of which could boost sales.