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September auto sales consistent heading into 4th quarter

O.C. automakers see varied sales numbers

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

Two of Orange County's five automakers saw sales numbers increase in September, a fairly consistent trend based on past performance. Typically, over the last six to twelve months, the larger brands have seen gains in sales, while the mid- to lower production brands have seen medium performance. These trends are borne out in the latest sales reports and are likely to continue through the end of the year.

Hyundai Motor America, Orange County’s largest auto brand, wrapped up its seventh month of U.S. sales over 60,000. The Costa Mesa-based American distributor of the Korean automaker reported a September sales record of 60,025 vehicles, an increase of 15 percent over the same month last year, and a year-to-date increase of ten percent over 2011.

The increase was driven in large part by the new Azera, which saw sales grow by 1028 percent over last September, followed by the Veloster, which grew by a 262 percent gain in sales.

"September was a very encouraging month for Hyundai as we avoided the traditional back-to-school sales decline and began to reap the benefits of a materially improved inventory situation on our core vehicle lines," said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai’s executive vice president of sales. "We're well positioned for a strong fourth quarter as sales of the newly launched Elantra GT, Elantra Coupe, the all-new Azera and all-new Santa Fe continued at a brisk pace. Our fourth quarter production plan is up nearly 20 percent on a year-over-year basis."

Kia Motors America, or KMA, reported another profitable month of increasing sales; the Irvine-based KMA reported a total of 48,105 vehicles sold during the month of September, an increase of 35.1 percent over the same period last year. In August, Kia launched a new advertising campaign, “Bringing Down the House,” its fourth starring the hip-hop Kia Hamsters.

Kia has been reporting a series of month-over-month record-breaking sales increases, with each month’s sales outpacing the company’s previous monthly sales. September marked the company’s 25th consecutive month of increasing sales.

"Kia's product-led transformation – together with our successful marketing – have elevated Kia's reputation beyond our bedrock commitment to value," said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of KMA.  "At Kia, we work to understand the needs and expectations of our customers and work to find new ways to enrich their lives, providing the Kia brand with powerful potential as more new products and technologies are set to arrive in the next 12 months."

Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America reported total September sales of 4,806 vehicles, a decrease of 17.2 percent compared to September 2011. However, sales for the Outlander Sport made up almost half the brand’s total sales for the month, at 2,253 vehicles. That figure is also the highest monthly sales total for the Outlander Sport in the two years the model has been available on the market.

"Comparisons to last year's total sales are still being slightly affected by some models that ended their production last year," said MMNA President & CEO Yoichi Yokozawa. "Obviously, this effect will have a diminishing impact over the next few months."

Irvine-based Mazda North American Operations reported total sales of 24,135 during the month a decrease of 5.4 percent from the same period last year. Sales of the Mazda3 carried a large part of the market, weighing in at 14,031 vehicles, amounting to 84 percent of last month’s total sales and 57.1 percent increase over the model’s sales during the same period last year. Year-to-date sales for the automaker have increased 9.5 percent compared to 2011.

Brea-based American Suzuki Motor Corporation has not released sales numbers for September.

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