Report: Hyundai keeps expanding despite economic downturn

Hyundai Genesis

Many of the major automakers reported significant declines in sales last month as the automotive market recovered from a Cash for Clunkers hangover. GM reported a decline of 45 percent, while Ford reported a decline of 5 percent and Chrysler reported a decline of 42 percent. Even Toyota and Honda reported a decline of 13 and 20 percent respectively.

However, there was one company that was a major bright-spot – Hyundai. The Korean automaker continued its record-setting 2009 pace and sold a total of 55,134 vehicles in Sept., an increase of 26 percent year-over-year from Sept. 2008.

It’s difficult to say that during an economic downturn such as this, Hyundai isn’t gloomy.

“We knew we had some really strong product coming out,” John Krafcik, CEO Hyundai’s U.S. operations told The Detroit News. “We focused on the opportunities that deteriorating economic conditions would provide us.”

He said that Hyundai’s executives drew up a plan with a big marketing budget “to come out very, very strong in the first quarter and take as much market share as we could.”

Hyundai’s market share has increased by 4.4 percent. When you include sales of its sister brand Kia Motor Corp. Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group together increased their market share by 2 points to 7.5 percent – overtaking Japan’s Nissan in the United States.

Guess we now know what Honda’s CEO, Ito Takanobu, meant when he said: “Hyundai is awesome. They are undoubtedly a threat because their products are cheap, and the quality is improving.”

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Detroit News