Kia Motors, together with its affiliate Hyundai, has overtaken Ford to become the fourth largest car maker in the world
Previously sitting in fifth place, the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group moved into fourth position based on global vehicle sales for the first six months of the year, according to figures just published by the Automotive News Data Centre in the United States. Toyota, GM and VW occupy the top three places.
Collectively, Kia and Hyundai sold 2.153million vehicles in the first half of 2009, overtaking Ford on 2.145million. This time last year they were trailing Ford by more than a million vehicles and just 10 years ago, when the two Korean companies formed their alliance, they were in 11th place.
Kia and Hyundai sales have fallen less than any other major vehicle manufacturer as a result of the global recession. In recent months they have actually posted gains, with Kia seeing record July sales in China (up 101%), its home market in Korea (up 26.5%) and the US (up 7.8%), on the way to posting an overall worldwide increase of 17.5%.
A spokesperson for Kia and Hyundai says that “as a result of producing the right product for the right times, the group has managed to take fourth place much quicker than had been predicted”.
It’s a strategy that has also paid off in New Zealand, too, according to Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors NZ, which has seen its local market share rise to more than 4%, from just under 3%, during the first six months of 2009.
“For example, Kia was among the first to introduce efficient and high performance diesel engines to small passengers cars, to complement our economical petrol models, at a time when New Zealand motorists have been looking for improved fuel efficiency,” says McDonald.
“And we’ve continued to roll out newer, design-led products even as the market has taken a hit from the economic downturn.
“That’s what you expect of a company that aspires to be among the top vehicle manufacturers in the world and it is great news that we have now taken fourth place.”
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