Orange County Business Journal

Hyundai, Kia Lead October Sales for Local Automakers

Kari Hamanaka Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Record October sales by Orange County’s two largest automakers once again led the local industry amid continued improvements nationwide.

National sales are on track to hit 13.26 million this year, according to Woodcliff Lake, NJ-based auto researcher Autodata Corp. That’s up slightly from the 13.1 million seasonally adjusted annual rate in September. It also close to this year’s high of 13.29 million vehicles reported in February.

Hyundai Motor America Inc., the largest automaker with operations here, sold 52,402 vehicles in October, up 23% from a year earlier.

Hyundai, part of Korea’s Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, has temporary headquarters in Costa Mesa as construction continues on its new Fountain Valley office campus.

The company beat the annual sales record it set for itself last month with 545,316 vehicles sold in the first 10 months of the year.

Hyundai’s sales total for last year was 538,228 vehicles.

Hyundai’s sister company, Irvine-based Kia Motors America Inc., notched its 14th-straight month of record-breaking sales.

Kia sold 37,690 vehicles, up 21% from a year earlier.

Kia beat the annual sales record it set for itself last year in the first nine months of the year.

The automaker recently launched a new version of its Rio compact, part of a series of vehicle redesigns in recent years that have helped Kia capture more sales.

Irvine-based Mazda North American Operations also saw sales up for the month.

Mazda sold 18,326 vehicles in October, up 1.7% from a year earlier. The total marked the automaker’s best October for sales since 2007.

October marked the start of sales for Anaheim-based luxury hybrid automaker Fisker Automotive Inc.

Fisker began selling its first vehicle model, the Karma sedan, last month after receiving emissions certification from the Environmental Protection Agency. It did not report sales for October.

Some automakers here saw sales slow during the month.

October sales at Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. were down 14% from a year earlier to 4,378 vehicles.

Sales of Mitsubishi’s electric i are set to begin later this month and could help the automaker’s sales pace for November.

Mitsubishi’s sales for the year are up 51% from a year earlier, to 70,253, despite the year-to-year dip in October.

Brea-based American Suzuki Motor Corp. reported a sales decline of 5% from a year earlier to 1,947 vehicles in October.

Suzuki saw sales down across all of its vehicle models except for the Equator pickup truck.

Sales of the Equator were up 78% from a year earlier to 203.