Hyundai overcomes strike to post best August ever
LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai division enjoyed its best August ever in the United States, posting a 4 percent sales gain from August 2011.
The division sold 61,099 vehicles last month in the United States.
The results bucked a 5 percent decline in global sales last month for Hyundai Motor Co., the parent's first monthly decline in three years. The automaker was hit by a series of partial strikes by unionized production workers in South Korea in July and August.
A labor pact to end the strikes was approved today by about 53 percent of Hyundai's unionized production workers in South Korea.
John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, estimated that the labor stoppages in South Korea will cost the United States 5,000 to 10,000 vehicles in lost production, calling the figure a "very rough" estimate.
In the United States, Hyundai has been largely shielded from the South Korean work stoppages because U.S. vehicle production accounts for more than 60 percent of its U.S. sales, Krafcik said.
Moreover, U.S. production of the Elantra compact and Sonata mid-sized sedan will increase with the addition of a third shift at Hyundai's plant in Montgomery, Ala. Workers at the plant will begin the third shift today.
Production of the 2013 Santa Fe Sport, the redesigned crossover that replaces the 2012 Santa Fe, began last month at Kia Motors America's plant in West Point, Ga. Availability and sales of the crossover are expected to improve as more vehicles reach dealers to refill inventories after the 2012 Santa Fe's sell-down.
Through August, Hyundai's U.S. sales totaled 479,789 units, up 9 percent from the same period last year.
Reuters contributed to this report
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