Hyundai, Kia U.S. sales up sharply in April

LOS ANGELES, May 1 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest automotive conglomerate, said Thursday its U.S. sales rose sharply in April thanks to demand for its sedan models and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

Hyundai Motor America (HMA) and Kia Motors America (KMA), the distribution and marketing arms of the group's flagship companies, said sales were up 4.4 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively, in the one-month period, compared with a year earlier.

HMA said it sold 66,107 units last month, a monthly record for April, and a rebound from drops in February and March.

It said demand for its Sonata midsize sedan and Santa Fe SUV led sales. Sonata sales surged 27.5 percent from a year earlier, with numbers for the Santa Fe hitting 8,997 units for a 29.6 percent gain from April 2013. Sales of the company's Accent subcompact also jumped 36 percent to 6,419 vehicles in the key North American market.

KMA said its sales hit 53,676 vehicles, with its boxy Soul multipurpose vehicle and Optima sedans having fueled growth.

Sales of the new second-generation Soul reached 14,403 units, a gain of 27.3 percent from a year earlier, which is just shy of the 14,589 Optimas sold in the U.S. market.

Reflecting such gains, U.S. industry data showed the combined sales of Hyundai and Kia in April surpassed those of Nissan. The two carmakers last beat Nissan in total sales in October.

According to Automotive News, the South Korean carmakers sold 119,783 vehicles, placing them after GM, Ford, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda.

The data showed market share by Hyundai and Kia reached 8.6 percent and expected numbers to increase in May with the new Genesis premium sedan reaching consumers across the country.

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