SEOUL (Bloomberg) -- Hyundai Motor Group has surpassed Toyota Motor Corp. as the largest Asian carmaker in Europe this year after the Japanese company's sales tumbled on recalls.
Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's two biggest automakers, boosted Europe sales 4 percent in the first 10 months to 521,369 vehicles, according to data released last week by European auto industry group ACEA. Toyota sales, including its Lexus premium brand, plunged 17 percent to 511,754.
The Seoul-based group has withstood slumping European auto demand this year as it lures drivers with the Hyundai ix35 SUV, i30 compact and Kia Cee'd compact. The carmaker has also won market share in the United States from Toyota after the company recalled more than 15 million vehicles worldwide for a variety of repairs, including unintended acceleration.
“Hyundai and Kia have clearly benefited from Toyota's massive recalls,” said Ahn Sang Joon, an auto analyst at Tong Yang Securities Inc. in Seoul. “They have also expanded their model lineups in European markets giving more choices to consumers.”
Overall auto sales in Europe have fallen 5 percent this year to 11.6 million, according to ACEA's data. Nissan Motor Co. has posted the biggest increase among major brands, with sales climbing 13 percent.
Rising European share
Hyundai and Kia's combined market share in Europe totaled 4.5 percent through October, an increase of 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier. The market share of Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, declined to 4.4 percent in the same period from 5 percent, according to ACEA's figures.
The Korean automakers' European sales may climb even more next year as they are preparing to introduce new models specifically designed for the region, said Kim Byung Kuk, a Seoul-based analyst at Daishin Securities Co.
Hyundai produces i30 compact cars at a plant in the Nosovice, Czech Republic. Kia makes Cee'd compacts and Sportage SUVs in ZIlina, Slovakia.
Hyundai's U.S. sales have risen 21 percent this year, aided by a 64 percent jump in demand for the mid-sized Sonata, while deliveries of Toyota's Camry dropped 6.3 percent and demand for Honda Motor Co.'s Accord fell 3.4 percent.
The Seoul-based automakers' combined global market share will climb toward a record 8 percent this year and exceed that figure next year, Edaily reported last week, citing Hyundai Motor President Yang Seung Suk.