Having a lineup stocked with small and low-priced vehicles that sip gasoline helped American Honda Motor Co. and Kia Motors America post strong sales in April.
Both brands gained sales and market share while most of the rest of the industry suffered major declines.
U.S. sales declined 6.8 percent in April to 1.25 million vehicles, according to the Automotive News Data Center estimates. For the year to date, the industry sold 4.83 million vehicles, a 7.7 percent decline from the same four months of 2007.
In April, South Koreas Kia sold a record 30,066 units in the United States, a 15.6 percent increase over last April. Kias winners included the Rondo, Rio and Spectra. The Rondo posted a 118.3 percent increase over last year, with 4,052 sales in April. The Optima, with 4,550 sales, registered an 89.3 percent gain over a year ago.
American Honda could not give precise sales figures because of technical issues. But based on estimates released Thursday, Honda Division sold about 135,000 vehicles in the month, up 6.8 percent from the same month a year ago, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
For the year to date, Honda Division has sold an estimated 487,642 vehicles, up 1.5 percent from the first four months of 2007.
Honda said the thrifty Fit, the Civic, Civic Hybrid and CR-V set April sales records. Honda Division sold 111,226 units last April.
Not all the news was good at American Honda. Its struggling Acura luxury division had another subpar month. The Automotive News Data Center estimates Acura sales declined 14.4 percent in April. Total Acura sales are estimated to be 13,000 in April, down from 15,193 last year.