SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are the best-selling cars for South Korea’s two largest automakers, Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., in the United States this year, sales data showed Sunday, as they plan to expand their SUV lineup.
The two automakers under Hyundai Motor Group sold a combined 668,328 SUVs in the U.S. through November, accounting for 55.4 percent of their 1.2 million new car sales in the world’s second-largest auto market.
This is the first time that Hyundai-Kia’s SUV sales accounted more than 50 percent of their car sales in the U.S. In 2013, SUVs made up 30.9 percent of their U.S. auto sales.
Hyundai has so far sold a record 333,452 SUVs, which also accounts 51.9 percent of the company’s total new car sales in the U.S. this year. The portion of SUVs in Hyundai’s U.S. sales has exceeded 60 percent for the last five months.
Kia logged 334,876 SUV sales through November and is on its way to set a new sales record in the U.S. The company’s best SUV sales in the U.S. came in 2016 when it sold 341,567 units.
Kia’s SUVs have so far made up 59.4 percent of its new car sales in the U.S. this year.
Market watchers said the two automakers’ large SUV models are leading the U.S. sales increase.
Hyundai’s Palisade, which was introduced in the U.S. in June, sold 23,082 units through November, while Kia’s Telluride was sold 52,108 units this year.
To boost their sales momentum, the two automakers are scheduled to release more SUV models.
Kia is expected to launch a small SUV Seltos in the first quarter of 2020, while Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury marque, also plans to introduce GV80 SUV.
Analysts said that robust SUV sales will push up the average sales price for the companies’ auto products and improve their earnings as SUVs are usually more expensive.
“As of the third quarter, Hyundai’s global average sales price for its vehicles was 18.99 million won (US$16,000), up 9.6 percent from a year earlier,” said Nam Jung-mi, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea.
“Even excluding currency exchange factors, it increased around 4 percent.”