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O.C. automakers report a very successful March

Nearly all local brands announce sales records during the month

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: April 04, 2012 03:05 PM

March was a very profitable month for Orange County’s automakers, according to the latest national car sales reports. Four of the five local brands report some form of record sales, and the same number saw an increase in month-over-month sales.

Hyundai Motor America
, based in Costa Mesa, published the company’s all-time monthly sales record during March, with national sales coming in at 69,728 vehicles. The latest numbers beat the company’s previous record, set in March of 2011, by 13 percent. For the first quarter of 2012, sales increased by 15 percent over last year.

"March was the best month in Hyundai's history and capped the best first quarter we've ever recorded," said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America's executive vice president of national sales. "Improving vehicle availability, particularly among our most fuel-efficient vehicles, Sonata, Elantra, Accent and Veloster, has fueled this record growth."

Irvine-based Kia Motors America continued its winning streak of monthly sales records, posting a 30 percent lead in last month’s sales over the same time in 2011. The automaker’s year-to-date sales also improved over the same period last year, at nearly 32 percent. Last month marked the first time the brand’s national sales surpassed 50,000 in a single month, sweeping past that figure with a total of 57,505 units sold across the country. March becomes the 19th consecutive monthly sales record for Kia.

Mazda North American Operations, also located in Irvine, had a similarly successful month, announcing an increase of almost 5 percent in national sales, totaling 32,376 units. The gains mark the company’s best total monthly sales since March 2008. For the first quarter of the year, Mazda’s sales are up a little more than 27 percent compared to the same time last year.

Brea’s American Suzuki Motor Corporation reported a 5 percent rise in sales compared to the same period in 2011, and a 30 percent increase in year-to-date sales. The sport and recreation brand, known also for its ATVs and outboard motors, has lately seen its sales figures decline due to older discontinued models appearing to stack the spreadsheet. As these discontinued models begin to phase out of the previous year’s spreadsheet, sales numbers show signs of improvement.

Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America saw an overall decline in monthly sales, but the company was buoyed by the highest sales for the Outlander Sport across the country since the model was introduced in October 2010. Total sales for the automaker came in at 7,160, a more than 5 percent decline from the same time last year. Sales are also down almost 18 percent for the year to date.

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