LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai and Kia each celebrated record U.S. sales in 2016 with the two brands combining for 1,422,603 total units, a 2.5 percent increase.
Hyundai Motor America, which includes the Genesis luxury division, closed out 2016 with 775,005 sales, a 1.5 percent gain over 2015. December sales were down 1.9 percent.
Sales for the Hyundai brand were mixed across cars and light trucks. The Accent and Veloster cars and the Tucson and Santa Fe crossovers each saw double-digit sales growth in 2016 -- with the Tucson the standout with a 41 percent jump on the year. The midsize Sonata and compact Elantra saw sales declines of 6.5 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
The Genesis luxury marque -- still in its first year as a standalone brand -- finished the year with 6,948 sales, 1,733 of them in December.
Hyundai’s results were announced about two weeks after the automaker dismissed CEO Dave Zuchowski for failing to meet internal sales objectives during his three-year tenure in the top post.
Kia Motors America also boasted a record year, selling 647,598 vehicles, a 3.5 percent gain; 2016 marked the first time Kia had four nameplates surpass the 100,000-unit mark: Forte, Optima, Sorento and Soul. Sales for December were flat at 54,353 units.
Among the big gainers in 2016 were the Forte compact-car family, up 31 percent to 103,292 units, and the Sportage crossover, up 51 percent to 81,066 units.
Kia’s laggards included its larger cars, a trend that could cloud the debut of a new large sport sedan at the Detroit auto show next week. The Optima midsize sedan fell 22 percent to 124,203 sales; the Cadenza was down 36 percent to 4,738; and the full-size K900 fell 67 percent to just 834 sales.