LOS ANGELES — It's rare that a 0.6 percent sales gain can feel like a watershed moment, but Hyundai is celebrating its return to positive numbers in July as a launch pad into a hopefully brighter second half.
And for Mazda, that launch has already happened. July's 3.4 percent increase came on top of an 11 percent rise in June, which put the automaker back in the black after an otherwise crushing second quarter.
The two brands are rare bright spots in a U.S. retail market dragged down by deserted showrooms and plunging sales.
Both Mazda and Hyundai crashed into the red in March along with the rest of the industry. But since then, they have been two of the industry's better performers. Hyundai was down 18 percent in the January-June period, and Mazda fell 7 percent compared with the first half of 2019. The light-vehicle industry as a whole was off 23 percent in the first half of this year. Most automakers did not report U.S. sales numbers in July and won't do so until the end of the third quarter.