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Hyundai, Kia No. 2 in China

Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors ranked No. 2 in sales of small vehicles in China during the first nine months of 2011, automotive data showed.

It said the two carmakers saw their ranking climb by four notches on a year-on-year basis by grabbing 10.9 percent of the Chinese market. They placed sixth during the same period last year.

The data showed that Hyundai-Kia sold a combined 162,472 units in the compact car segment between January and September.

The companies saw their sales jump 52.2 percent on a yearly basis and overtake Volkswagen, which ranked third with sales of 154,582 units. General Motors topped the list by selling 191,626 units.

GM recorded 12.9 percent in market share and Volkswagen 10.4 percent.

Hyundai Motor’s Verna (dubbed Accent in China) and Kia Motors’ K2 (Pride Hatchback in China) contributed heavily to their rapid sales growth, according to the data.

Sales of the Verna subcompact came to 96,883 units, making it the third bestselling car in China. The K2, made available to consumers in June, reached 22,376 units as of September.

Demand for Hyundai’s Accent and Kia’s Rio subcompacts remained steady this year, contributing to the overall increase in sales of the two carmakers.

In all segments, Hyundai and Kia have been successful in expanding their market share in China, taking nearly 10 percent of the market.

In 2010, Hyundai-Kia saw their sales in all segments come in at 1.1 million units in China, up 28.2 percent from a year earlier.

Hyundai was fourth with about 700,000 units sold in China while Kia came in 13th with 330,000 units.

Hyundai-Kia spokespeople said they believe the new releases and their localized marketing strategies will continue to boost sales, allowing both companies to capture 10 percent of the market this year.

“China is becoming the most important market that could decide the very fate of Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors,” a group executive said.

Hyundai-Kia emerged as one of the world’s top five automakers in global sales last year, selling more than 5 million vehicles.

Climbing six notches in less than 10 years was not a simple accomplishment, as it required stepping over global players including Honda, Nissan, Fiat, Chrysler and Peugeot.

By Kim Yon-se (
Korea Herald Youtube