Crossovers fuel gains for smaller Asian brands

WASHINGTON -- Strong demand for crossovers drove sales gains at smaller Asian brands in May.

Kia posted its best U.S. sales month in company history with May sales of 60,087, up 15 percent from the year-ago month. Kia’s banner month got a boost from a 37 percent gain in sales of the boxy Soul subcompact and a 49 percent increase in Sportage compact crossover deliveries.

Hyundai sales gained 4 percent to 70,907 units on a 49 percent jump in Santa Fe mid-sized crossover sales and a 22 percent increase in Tucson compact crossover sales.

Mazda CX-5 compact crossover sales gained 30 percent to a May-best 9,291 units and helped overall Mazda sales rise 23 percent in May from the year-earlier month to 29,731 vehicles. After a slow start following its introduction last fall, Mazda3 compact car sales grew 20 percent to 10,682 units, the nameplate’s best May performance in four years, according to the company.

Mitsubishi’s May sales rose 54 percent from the year-earlier month to 7,269 vehicles. Sales of the Outlander compact crossover more than doubled from May 2013 to 1,292 units and sales of the Outlander Sport compact crossover rose 24 percent to 2,820 units. Mitsubishi also got a boost from its new Mirage subcompact, adding 1,700 units to the brand’s May total. The Mirage went on sale last fall.

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