HYUNDAI/KIA: Trucks deliver a record July

Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

July proved to be yet another record-breaking month for Hyundai and Kia, with combined U.S. sales at the two brands rising 6 percent to 134,972 cars and light trucks.

It was the best July on record for the pair. Hyundai reported 75,003 sales, a 5.6 percent increase, while Kia sold 59,969 vehicles, a 6.5 percent jump from July 2015.

The two brands’ success came as rivals such as GM, Ford, and Toyota posted declines and analysts warned of rising incentive spending and a sales plateau after six years of consecutive gains.

Much of the gains for Hyundai and Kia occurred as the two automakers tapped consumers’ unending appetite for light trucks.

Sales of Kia’s Sportage compact crossover jumped 53 percent to 8,111, Hyundai’s redesigned compact Tucson crossover racked up sales of 7,728, a surge of 98 percent, and the Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport combined for a 23 percent increase in sales, to 14,336 in July.

Even deliveries of Kia’s Sedona minivan rose 37 percent to 5,037 last month.

Both automakers also bucked the industrywide trend of declining small car demand; Sales of Kia’s subcompact Rio and compact Forte jumped 50 percent and 31 percent, respectively, while sales of Hyundai’s subcompact Accent rocketed up 65 percent, with sales of 7,046.

Surprisingly, demand for Hyundai’s redesigned Elantra slipped 6.8 percent to 20,629 units.

Things were less rosy for the pair’s midsize and larger sedans. Hyundai’s Sonata was down 14 percent with sales of 20,635, while its twin, the Kia Optima, dropped 23 percent to 9,780. Sales of Kia’s full-size K900 fell off a cliff, dropping 87 percent versus a year earlier, with just 61 sedans sold.

Hyundai and Kia each spent less on incentives in July than the industry average of $3,225 per vehicle, which jumped 5.2 percent from last year. Hyundai spent $2,328 on incentives last month, or 13 percent less than July 2015, while Kia spent $2,699 on deals, an 11 percent drop from last year, according to TrueCar forecasts.

You can reach David Undercoffler at undercoffler@crain.com -- Follow David on Twitter: @autonews_west

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