Orange County Business Journal

Automakers’ June Sales Up

Kari Hamanaka Friday, July 1, 2011

Orange County automakers saw vehicle sales rise in June even as sales nationally stalled on production and inventory issues.

South Korea’s Hyundai Kia Automotive Group’s two brands headquartered here continued to lead vehicle sales for the month among companies with U.S. operations based in Orange County.

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America Inc.—the largest automaker here—saw vehicle sales up 16% last month to 59,209 vehicles.

June sales were led by Hyundai’s Elantra and Sonata sedans.

Hyundai Executive Vice President of National Sales Dave Zuchowski said “the company is on track for its best year ever.”

Hyundai sister company Kia Motors America Inc. in Irvine sold 45,044 vehicles last month, a 41.2% increase from a year earlier.

Nationally, vehicle sales slowed largely as a result of production constraints that have caused inventories to fall.

The vehicle supply shortage has pushed up prices, prompting some buyers to delay purchases.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate—an industry measure predicting total sales for the year—was 11.9 million vehicles in June.

That’s up slightly from a pace of 11.8 million vehicles recorded for May.

Other automakers here continued to post sales gains.

Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America reported the highest percentage gain in June vehicle sales.

Mitsubishi’s vehicle sales were up 97.7% last month from a year earlier to 8,299 vehicles.

Irvine-based Mazda North American Operations sold 19,307 vehicles last month, which is up 5.9% from a year earlier.

American Suzuki Motor Corp. of Brea saw sales up 12% from a year earlier to 2,278 vehicles sold in June.

Many automakers plan to release new vehicle models in the coming months to continue the sales momentum.

Kia will release its 2012 Soul compact this summer followed by two new Rio compact models in the fall.

Hyundai is also expected to release its Veloster compact sports car for sale this summer.