Hyundai-Kia sales have been struggling this year even though the past four or five years has seen rapid growth. Part of the problems were understandably created by the 2011 earthquake in Japan, but the Hyundai-Kia assembly plants are running at full capacity now. The first quarter of this year reported 248,900 vehicles sold which is a 9% decrease over the same sales period last year. To help make up for the incline, the automakers have turned to fleet sales and that seems to be working out okay for them, but not as wonderfully as what they would like.
Bob King Automotive Group in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., points out, “We’ve been in a seller’s position. Today the competition is more closely aligned to some of the value proposition that Hyundai has had. Our customers can elect to buy what they want, not just what you have.” His thoughts are that now that the Japanese automakers have improved their inventory, Hyundai is having a hard time in the competitive arena. What this spells out is that Hyundai-Kia has to work harder to keep up.
The Veloster, for example is in short supply and sales would be much better if the inventory was kept up with the demand. John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America said he believes there would be a 70% increase here in America under those circumstances. He said, “We’re growing where we can and where we have capacity. We have more Elantras, and Elantra sales are growing. We have more Santa Fes, and Santa Fe sales are growing.
So the question remains, will more cars equal more sales for Hyundai-Kia, or will more fleet sales equal increasing sales rates? From the sounds of it, Hyundai-Kia is approaching both of these options. Either way, the dealers are all in agreement that if they didn’t keep selling out, then their sales would show a much higher increase.