Tucson's quick start, Soul help Hyundai-Kia to breakout month

U.S. sales of the Hyundai Tucson more than doubled in September with a redesigned model now in showrooms. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Slowly but surely, Hyundai Motor Group is shifting resources toward trucks to catch up with rivals in the U.S. market. That paid off in September as sales of the Hyundai Tucson more than doubled with a redesigned model now in showrooms.

In total, Hyundai Motor Group sales increased 18 percent to 113,835 units. Hyundai brand sales rose 14 percent to 64,015 units, aided primarily by the 121 percent gain for the Tucson compact crossover, while Kia sales rose 23 percent to 49,820 units.

“The Tucson’s striking new design, along with its advanced technology and safety features, is resonating with our customers,” said Derrick Hatami, Hyundai brand’s new U.S. sales chief, in a statement.

Hatami left Nissan at the beginning of September to return to Hyundai Motor America as vice president of national sales, replacing Bob Pradzinski.

Kia’s successful September was led by the Soul. Sales of the boxy subcompact, which presaged the rise of subcompact crossovers such as the Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade when it went on sale in 2009, rose 26 percent to 13,614 units.

Besides the Soul, Kia benefited from a strong month from its other three models with names beginning with ‘S’: Sedona, Sportage and Sorento. Sorento sales rose 41 percent to 9,380 units while Sedona sales increased almost fivefold to 3,039 units. Sportage demand rose 6.1 percent.

Kia had a particularly good September thanks to Labor Day sales and strong consumer confidence, Michael Sprague, COO of Kia Motors America, said in a statement. The former bargain brand has now posted a 7 percent sales increase for the full year to date, despite a relatively thin lineup of trucks.

“Our sustained growth,” Sprague said, “stems from buyers who are entering the market for the first time in years and discovering the transformed Kia brand.”

You can reach Gabe Nelson at gnelson@crain.com

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