Hyundai and affiliate Kia posted brisk performance in the world's two largest car markets in January. They posted record monthly sales in China and were the only automakers to see their sales volume grow in the U.S.
Hyundai and Kia sold a combined 175,224 cars in China in January, up seven percent from the previous monthly record of 163,090 units.
Hyundai sold 115,198 cars and Kia 60,026, the first time Kia has sold more than 60,000 vehicles in a month. Their performance there was largely driven by Hyundai's Mistra medium sedan that hit showrooms in November last year, a model specifically targeting Chinese consumers. Over 10,000 Mistras had been sold every month. Kia's K2 and K3 compact sedans are also selling fast.
The automakers will likely see their sales rise further as Hyundai plans to launch a new SUV compact in the second half of this year and Kia's third plant in China is scheduled to start operation in the first half of this year.
In the U.S., Hyundai and Kia sold 81,016 cars, up one percent from a year earlier and a record for the month of January. Sales of the Avante rose 26 percent on-year to 15,326 units. Launched in the U.S. last October, Kia's new Soul also saw a 9.6 percent sales growth to reach 8,092 units.
Meanwhile, overall sales of new cars in the U.S. dropped three percent on-year to 1.01 million as a series of cold snaps and heavy snow in January on the east coast hampered economic activities. General Motors, Ford and Toyota saw sales volume shrink seven to 12 percent on-year.