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Things are good for Korean automaker Hyundai as the month’s end approaches and it sits poised to break an all-time sales record.
With more than 65,000 units expected to sell in the U.S. alone, it’s safe to say the 40-mpg minimum mantra that made many people eager to buy was a success. By how much? March of last year the company sold 61,873 units, meaning Hyundai is set for a roughly 5 percent increased sales volume.
“March is shaping up to be our best sales month ever,” said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America’s executive vice president of national sales. “We expect to sell 50 percent more of our 40-mpg highway vehicles than we sold in March 2011 as customers recognized that Hyundai is the place to shop for the best selection of high mileage cars.”
Despite higher gas prices and panic over Japan’s earthquake, and its subsequent effect on auto production, March 2011 was a positive month for the industry, with sales up 17 percent compared to the previous year.
Among the Big 3, Ford managed to outsell General Motors for the first time in a year, with a 16 percent gain, while Chrysler was up 31 percent. Toyota was the only major auto maker to lose ground, with sales falling 6 percent, while Kia and Honda posted gains of 45 percent and 25 percent respectively. Nissan recorded a record month with 121,141 total units sold, a 28 percent increase from the previous year.
Among premium brands, MINI recorded a 69 percent bump and BMW was up 12 percent. Mercedes saw sales up 37 percent while Smart sales dropped by 37 percent. Lexus posted modest gains of 2 percent despite Toyota’s downward trend, and Audi recorded a 14 percent increase while parent company Volkswagen saw sales rise 20 percent.
[Source: Automotive News]
While we won’t have final March sales numbers until Thursday evening, but for the first time since February of 2010, Ford looks set to beat GM in sales figures, with 210,000 units sold.
GM won’t fare so badly, with a projected 208,000 cars and trucks moved in March. GM’s slump – and Ford’s success – has been attributed to a reduction on incentives by the General, and Ford’s bump in factory money. GM was previously the industry leader in incentives.
While Japanese automakers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan reported strong showings, the natural disasters in Japan may prove to be a thorn in their side, and Edmunds has already reported a downturn in sales for March, based on these events, as well as higher gas prices.
Nissan, which currently sells a stripped-down version of its sub-compact Versa for less than $10,000, is set to offer two more models in the four digit price range. According to a report by Automotive News, Nissan chairman for the America, Carlos Tavares, has said that two new sub-$10,000 vehicles will join Nissan’s lineup in the U.S. and Canada, based of of the company’s new V platform, which will underpin a replacement for the Micra/March overseas.
As evidenced by this weeks Detroit Auto Show, many automakers are moving towards small cars and Nissan’s new Micra-replacement isn’t likely to be overly small as the sub-compact Versa is somewhat large for its class.
The two new vehicles will be built in Mexico alongside a third model, which will be distributed in South America.
This new small car will be one of the first of its segment in North American, joining cars like the upcoming Chevy Spark and the Fiat 500 (although the 500 is likely to be priced much higher).
[Source: Automotive News via Autoblog]