June 16th, 2011
2012 Hyundai Accent
South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. will expand production to meet increased demand with the goal of selling 600,000 cars in the U.S. market by calendar year 2011’s end, Bloomberg reports. While that goal may seem lofty, Hyundai has the sales numbers to back it up, selling a total of 263,588 light vehicles through the end of May. Bloomberg projects sales of around 630,000 at the current pace, if Hyundai can meet its production goals.
2011 Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai’s success rides chiefly on its new Sonata and Elantra lines, both coming of recent redesigns using the company’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design language that is also employed on the just-released 2012 Hyundai Accent.
Both the Sonata and Elantra have been runaway sales hits, benefiting from production problems currently plaguing the Japanese as a result of March’s natural disasters.
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata was seventh on the list of best-selling light vehicles in May, moving 22,754 units. This put the model in front of both the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
The much-improved all-new Elantra was at 11th with 20,006 units, in front of both the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
Hyundai and its corporate partners at Kia have been quietly instilling fear into rival auto execs with a full range of successful brand-new models. Kia and Hyundai operate as separate entities but fall under the same corporate umbrella, sharing the costs of new model development. Hyundai obtained a 51% controlling stake in Kia in 1998.
2011 Hyundai Elantra
The Sonata and Elantra are built at the company’s Montgomery, Ala. plant, where overtime and Saturday shifts have boosted production capacity to meet the higher-than-expected demand. Some key models, like the 2012 Accent, are imported from South Korea.
May 31st, 2011
Today is June 1, 2011. That means automakers will report May 2011 auto sales later today, and auto sales are expected to rise slightly compared to May of last year. Additionally, May is expected to bring a significant decline in the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) when compared with the first four months of 2011. The SAAR balances the total number of vehicles sold with projections for the year based on historic data for a given sales season.
The expected SAAR for May translates to a total annualized figure of between 12.1 and 12.4 million units sold, according to industry expert predictions gathered by Business Insider and Bloomberg.
Through the preceding months of 2011, projections were closer to 13 million units. This was on pace for the highest sales figures since 2008.
Hyundai/Kia are expected to overtake Toyota's brands for third in total U.S. car sales in the month of May.
The difference boils down to financial aftershocks due to the Japan natural disasters of this past March. Parts shortages have hit Toyota and Honda production particularly hard, with Ford, GM and Hyundai/Kia making gains in sales that would have otherwise gone to Toyota and Honda.
Hyundai and Kia, which fall under the same corporate umbrella, are projected to sell more combined cars than Toyota/Scion/Lexus for the first time ever in May, taking over the third spot behind rebounding GM and Ford at first and second.
The general consensus boils down to figures for May being somewhat of anomaly, with yearly pace still on track to bring big gains for the industry as a whole. The causes for less-than-stellar May figures?
Incentive spending is down industry-wide, leading to higher actual out-the-door prices paid by consumers. Those seeking to purchase a new car have heard so much in the media about production shortages that are likely putting off their purchases off until later this year.
This should bring even better than originally projected seasonally adjusted sales numbers for the late summer and fall as supply chains return to normal.