By Lee Seung-hoon and Lee Ha-yeon
Sales of South Korea’s top automaker Hyundai Motor Co. and its sister company Kia Motors Corp. in the United States recovered last month thanks to brisk sales of their sport utility vehicles models.
Hyundai and Kia said Wednesday their combined sales in the U.S. reached 111,406 units in August, up 3.5 percent from a year ago. Hyundai Motor saw a 6 percent on-year rise in sales after delivering 57,542 units, and Kia Motors a 1-percent gain with sales of 53,864 units.
Uplifted by the news, shares of Hyundai Motor rose 3.88 percent to close at 134,000 won ($119.27) on Thursday, and Kia Motors added 4.5 percent to end at 33,650 won.
Hyundai Motor attributed its sales increase in the U.S. to its latest SUV model Tucson that sold 11,559 units in the month, gaining 19 percent on year. Hyundai Motor Tucson sales have risen for 18 months in a row, helping combined sales of Hyundai Motor’s SUVs soar 30.4 percent on year to 27,678 units in August.
Kia also delivered stellar results thanks to strong demand for its flagship sedan Optima, known as K5 in Korea, and SUV model Sorento. Optima and Sorento sales surged 57 percent and 34 percent, respectively, on year in the North American nation. The carmaker also expects its premium sports sedan Stinger would become a new growth engine as the model sold more-than-expected 1,480 units last month.
Cumulative sales from January to August by the two carmakers fell 1.8 percent on year to 844,881 units to keep their combined share in the U.S. market unchanged at 7.4 percent
The Korean car makers, however, expect the newest versions of Hyundai Motor’s Santa Fe and Kia Motors’ K3 would help their sales in the country further improve in the latter half of this year.