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Automakers release April national sales figures

The 3 largest brands post increases, but fewer selling days lower overall figures

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: May 02, 2012 11:20 AM

Orange County’s five local auto brands released national April sales figures yesterday, with the three largest automakers posting increases. While there was growth, three fewer selling days in April made for less opportunity to advance sales.

Hyundai Motor America, based in Costa Mesa, reported its best ever April sales, despite three fewer selling days compared to last year. Branding itself as the most fuel-efficient automaker in the country, Hyundai sold a total of 62,264 vehicles last month, narrowly pushing past last year’s April figure by 1 percent.

"Never has a relatively flat sales month felt quite so good," said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America's executive vice president of national sales. "We definitely felt some pullback from an overheated March sales pace but really picked up some momentum at the tail end of the month and finished with a flurry to set another all-time volume record.”

Part of the reason for the small increase can due to the limited availability of the Accent, Veloster, and Elantra, three of the brand’s most popular high-mpg vehicles, according to John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

Mazda North American Operation’s main selling point for the month of April was not its year-over-year increase, but its comparative year-to-date sales. The Irvine-based brand achieved its fastest year-to-date sales record since 1994, with 103,529 vehicles sold in the first four months of 2012, marking a 21.5 percent increase in overall sales. For the month, a total of 21,506 vehicles were sold, an increase of 4.2 percent compared to the same period in 2011.

Kia Motors America racked up yet another monthly sales record last month, adding another link to its growing chain of achievements, with each month advancing its momentum as the “fastest growing auto brand” in the nation. The Irvine-based carmaker now has 20 months of internal record-breaking sales, adding to its market share and growing its brand recognition.

The automaker reported an April sales total of 47,550 vehicles, a 1 percent increase over last year’s April figures. "Our record April performance is the latest illustration of how far the Kia brand has progressed as we continue to attract new customers with our unique value formula of world-class design, outstanding fuel efficiency, premium features and cutting-edge technologies," said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of KMA and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, the automaker’s U.S.-based plant operations. "With more new products and technologies set to arrive within the next year, we will continue our efforts to raise consumer awareness and consideration for the Kia brand and our full lineup of stylish and fuel-efficient vehicles."

Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America reported a 34.7 percent decline in its April sales compared to the same period last year. A total of 5,280 vehicles were sold last month. Yoichi Yokozawa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, said recent sales have been impacted by models in production, which wrapped up over last summer.

“This is a condition that will continue for several more months,” Yokozawa said. “However, we anticipate we will realize positive sales momentum from the beginning of domestic production of our Outlander Sport this summer, in Normal, Illinois. Year-to-date sales of the Outlander Sport are up 3.2 percent compared to the same period last year.”

American Suzuki’s national auto sales amounted to a total of 1,774 vehicles last month, dipping 16.7 percent compared to the same period in 2011, with all four of the brand’s model’s seeing declines. The Brea-based brand is also well known for its recreational vehicles, outboard motors and other all-wheel drive sport vehicles, which do not factor into automotive vehicle sales.

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