LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai and Kia each generated record December sales to close 2010 and post their best annual U.S. results ever.
The results for the two affiliated brands were driven by higher sales of their new or redesigned vehicles. At Hyundai, the Sonata's continued strength was mirrored by growth in sales of its Elantra compact, Tucson crossover and Genesis sedan.
The story was the same for Kia's new and redesigned models. The brand's Soul, Forte, Forte Koup, Sportage, Sorento and redesigned 2011 Optima accounted for 86 percent of Kia's December sales volume.
All told, Hyundai sold 538,228 vehicles in 2010, up 24 percent from 2009, and a 15.2 percent increase from its prior record of 467,009 vehicles set in 2007.
Hyundai said sales to individual customers increased 54 percent in December compared with 2009, reflecting the brand's holiday advertising campaign and improved product availability. Sales to fleet customers such as rental car companies accounted for 7 percent of Hyundai's December sales, versus 16 percent for the full year.
Kia does not provide fleet sales figures.
“December was the capstone to a good year for Hyundai, with our total sales results actually understating the more important gains we made at retail, where we added a full point of market share,” Hyundai CEO John Krafcik said in a statement.
“While we grew total volume 24 percent, retail volume through our 800-strong dealer network climbed 35 percent, or 115,786 units, with 90,349 of that retail gain coming from the game-changing 2011 Sonata.”
Kia set a full-year sales record by selling 356,268 vehicles, up 18.7 percent from 2009. The brand's previous sales record of 305,473 vehicles was set in 2007.
Kia sold 30,444 vehicles in December, up nearly 45 percent from the same month last year and Hyundai sold 44,802 units, a 33 percent increase from December 2009.
“Kia has experienced unprecedented growth in the U.S.,” Kia Motors America CEO Byung Mo Ahn said in a statement, “including a 48 percent market share increase since 2008 to our current position of more than 3 percent."