Hyundai-Kia Motors have mixed feelings about the United States and China, the group’s two largest markets. The two companies show good performance in the U.S. market, surpassing Volkswagen, while they are struggling with local automakers in the Chinese market.
Auto industry sources said on Oct. 29 that sales of Hyundai-Kia Motors in Oct. is estimated at approximately 110,000 units. According to the estimate of Kelley Blue Book (KBB), the U.S.-based automotive research company, the figure is up 16.1 percent from the same period a year ago. It is way above the 11.9 percent of the total U.S. auto market growth outlook in Oct. Their market share will grow 0.3 percent point to 7.7 percent.
In contrast, Volkswagen is faltering due to its ongoing emissions cheating scandal. The KBB estimates that sales of Volkswagen in the U.S. market in Oct. will be 50,000 units, up only 1.8 percent year-on-year. Considering the sales increase of 7.3 percent in the U.S. in Sept., its growth has rapidly slowed down in a month. With low sales, Volkswagen’s market share in Oct. will stand at 3.5 percent, decreasing 0.3 percentage points from the same period a year earlier.
Volkswagen has been hot on the trail of Hyundai-Kia Motors in the U.S. market so far. According to the data collected by Automotive News, the accumulative share of Hyundai-Kia Motors in the U.S. market in September was 5.2 percent, which showed a small margin with Volkswagen of 3.1 percent. An official from the auto industry said, “Since U.S. consumers have strict moral standards and evaluation on corporations, a shattered corporate image often leads to a decrease in sales. The fall in car sales and used car prices of Volkswagen is seen most notably in the U.S. market.”
In the U.S. market, there are only four brands which market shares in Oct. have grown – Ford with 0.6 percent point, Nissan with 0.3 percent point and Hyundai-Kia Motors with 0.3 percent point. GM, Toyota and Volkswagen have seen the drop of 0.3 percent point.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor announced that its sales in the U.S. market exceeded 10 million units on Oct. 26. The company first exported its subcompact Excel, which was manufactured in the Ulsan plant at that time, to the U.S. in 1986, and sold 168,882 units in the first year. Four years later, its accumulative sales surpassed 1 million units in 1990, 2 million units in 1999, 3 million units in 2002 and 4 million units in 2005.
After the completion of the Alabama plant, Hyundai Motor have shown more than 6 percent of the growth every year as its production has increased. The company also sold 578,190 units, up 3.7 percent year-on-year, until Sept. this year.
According to the recent data collected by China Association of Automotive Manufacturers, on the other hand, Hyundai Motor, or Beijing Hyundai Motor, was pushed out to sixth by China’s Changan Automobile in terms of sales in China from Jan. to Sept. this year. This is the first time since 2009 that the company fell behind Chinese automakers.
Kia Motors, which ranked 10th last year, sold 395,771 units from Jan. to Sept. this year, coming in 15th. In contrast, China’s Great Wall Motors made it into the top 10 and Geely Automobile Holdings Limited ranked 14th, outpacing Kia Motrs.
This is largely due to the price of vehicles. Hyundai Motor’s new Tucson is priced at more than 150,000 yuan (US$23,581 or 27 million won) in China. It is more than two times than the price of Chinese-made SUVs at 60,000 to 70,000 yuan (US$9,432 to 11,004 or 10.8 million to 12.59 million won). Changan Automobile, which beat Hyundai Motor, sold 822,124 units in 2013. The figure is lower than Hyundai Motor with 1.03 million units. However, the gap between the two companies narrowed by 146,688 units in 2014 and the tables have been turned this year.
Industry experts pointed out that the quality of Hyundai-Kia Motors is better than Chinese products but its brand power is lower than that of Japan and Europe. Also, the price is much higher than that of China.