May 12, 2015 11:46
Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors have reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the U.S. subcompact car market after four months of trailing absence from the leader's position.
Hyundai and Kia sold 11,010 subcompact cars in the U.S. in April, up 14 percent from a year earlier, auto-market research firm Autodata said on Monday. Hyundai sold 8,208 units of the Accent, and Kia sold 2,802 units of the Rio (sold as Pride in Korea). Nissan placed second, selling 9,646 units of the Versa.
The two Korean carmakers ranked top in the segment in December 2013, but trailed Nissan for the next year until they returned to the top in December 2014 -- only to relinquish the No.1 spot to Nissan again in January.
Their combined share of the subcompact market in the U.S. has also risen. They accounted for 25 percent of the market last month, up from 23 percent in March, 21 percent in February and 19 percent in January.
"The 2015 Accent, with its slick and stylish design, is driving the strong sales. Promotional programs such as the 10-year or 100,000-mile warranty also played a big role," a Hyundai spokesman said.
Lee Hang-koo at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade said, "It is significant that Hyundai and Kia reclaimed the top spot in the U.S. subcompact car market amid aggressive marketing by Japanese carmakers. But to become a truly global carmaker, Hyundai and Kia need to have outstanding models in the mid- and large-sized car sectors."
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