Hyundai, Kia sales in U.S. market up 3.7 pct in July

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest automotive conglomerate, said Friday that its U.S. sales rose 3.7 percent on-year in July to 119,320 units, fueled by demand for popular models and competitive marketing efforts.

Hyundai Motor America (HMA) and Kia Motors America (KMA), the distribution and marketing arms of the group's flagship companies, said sales were up 1.5 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, in the one-month period compared with a year earlier.

HMA said it sold 67,011 cars last month, up from 66,005 tallied in July 2013, and KMA's numbers rose to 52,309 from 49,004.

The growth trails the rise in global sales for Hyundai and Kia for the whole of last month. Hyundai, South Korea's No. 1 carmaker, reported selling 379,820 vehicles, a gain of 4.4 percent from the year before. Kia sales reached 261,766 units, a surge of 23.4 percent.

The combined U.S. sales are equivalent to 18.6 percent of 641,586 cars sold by the two South Korean automakers last month. Hyundai Motor reported selling 379,820 vehicles last month, while Kia's numbers reached 261,766 units.

HMA said July's tally comes as the company received the highest ranking among non-premium brands in the J.D. Power APEAL and IQS reports.

The tally for July is the best monthly figure since the South Korean carmaker started selling vehicles in the U.S. in 1986.

Of the total, sales of the Sonata midsize sedans hit 22,577 units, up a sharp 19.4 percent from the previous year's tally of 18,903 vehicles. The increase reflects demand for the seventh-generation Sonata and the hybrid model of the midsize car.

The popular Santa Fe SUV, sold in both the "Sport" and long-wheel-base models, did well, with sales reaching 8,655 units for a gain of 26.4 percent from 6,845 a year earlier.

The sales of premium models were also up more than 9 percent, led by demand for the Genesis and Equus sedans. Genesis sales hit 2,990, while Equus, the company's top super-luxury car sold 305 units last month compared to 173 in July 2013.

Company executives said sales were buoyed by competitive financing arrangements and new 2015 models hitting showrooms.

Hyundai's smaller sibling, Kia, said sales of its iconic Soul boxy compact exceeded the half-million mark after being introduced in the U.S. in 2009. Sales of the Soul hit 14,709 units, up a sharp 44.7 percent from 10,160 units sold a year earlier. This made the car the best-selling Kia last month.

The car also topped the Compact MPV segment in the J.D. Power APEAL study for the third year in a row.

Optima sales reached 13,588 units, with demand for the Sportage and Sorento SUVs hitting 4,412 and 8,749 vehicles. Sportage sales were up 74.8 percent on-year.

The carmaker said that with the brand moving to introduce the all-new Sedona and Soul-EV in the third quarter, sales should continue to move up. Kia will soon unveil its third-generation Sorento SUV for sale later in the year.

For the first seven months of the year, the two carmakers sold 781,167 cars, up 3.7 percent from 753,370 units sold a year earlier.

Hyundai's numbers reached 431,455, a gain of a little over 1 percent from 427,015, while the increase for Kia reached 7.2 percent to 349,722 from 326,355 units.

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