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O.C. automakers release 2011 sales results

All five local brands report annual increases, with Kia, Hyundai announcing record full-year sales.

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: January 05, 2012 09:15 AM

Orange County’s automakers have reported their December sales numbers, and with them, the official full-year sales for 2011 are in. The last twelve months was a banner year for the auto industry, with all five local auto brands reporting annual sales increases. Kia Motors America, headquartered in Irvine, appears to be the big winner, presenting its all-time best full-year sales and gain in market share.

Kia has been enjoying a rosy period of unprecedented growth; the brand has been growing in popularity and market share for years. It has achieved 16 consecutive monthly sales records, and December continued the trend, with a 42.5 percent increase in sales over the same time in 2010. The automaker sold a total of 485,492 cars in 2011, a 36.3 percent increase over 2010’s full-year sales. The company reports that it surpassed its all-time best annual sales record in September 2011.

Hyundai Motor America, currently based in Costa Mesa, has also reported record sales for the year. December sales amounted to a 13 percent increase over the same period in 2010, rounding out the year for a total of 645,691 cars sold in 2011, a 20 percent increase over the previous 12 months.

"December was another record-setting month and 2011 a record-setting year for Hyundai," said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.  "Hyundai sold a record 645,691 units this year, built over 420,000 cars right here in the U.S., and achieved an industry-leading 36.1 miles per gallon CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) level doing it.

Irvine-based Mazda North American Operations also reported month-over-month and annual gains, although not on as large a scale. December sales increased by 4.1 percent compared to the same time in 2010, and Mazda marked 250,426 cars sold in 2011, an increase of 9.1 percent over the previous 12-month period. The automaker noted that consumers began to return to the showrooms over the year in 2011, but were still shopping as much as buying.

Mitsubishi Motors North America, headquartered in Cypress, ended a mixed year on a high note. After months of ups and downs, December sales increased 3.2 percent over the same period in 2010, ending the year for a 2011 full-year sales total of 79,020, a 41.9 percent increase over 2010’s total sales. This marks the automaker’s highest annual sales total since 2008.

Brea-based American Suzuki Motor Corporation was the only local brand to lose ground in December, posting a slight 3 percent decline in the month compared to the same time in 2010. However, full-year sales increased by 11 percent, with 26,619 cars sold in the 12-month period, compared to 2010’s total sales.

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