Korean brands put heat on VW
THERE has been a major shake-up in global car sales this year, but it’s not the sort of thing you might have expected.
For a start, and despite its nearcollapse, General Motors ran Toyota awfully close on the showroom totals for the first half of the year.
According to results from the Automotive News data centre in the US, Toyota was only 11,373 sales ahead at the halfway point of this year.
GM was obviously helped by a huge bankruptcy sales push, in- cluding sales on eBay this month, but Toyota was also down to a relatively ordinary 3,564,105 vehicles at the end of June.
The real surprise is Korea’s Kia-Hyundai group.
It has now powered to fourth overall, passing Ford, selling 8000 more vehicles globally than the American giant.
The gap between the two companies was more than a million at the end of last year, but Ford has slipped badly during the global economic crisis while KiaHyundai has actually made gains in many countries with its valuefirst vehicles.
The twin Korean brands have made massive leaps since the early 1990s, when Hyundai was aiming to make the global top 10. Even in the late ’90s the newly unified company could make only 11th overall on the worldwide sales charts.
But now its goal is a top three spot, which means it would have to accelerate past Volkswagen.
It trails the German company by a little under a million vehicles at this year’s halfway point, which means it will have to make big improvements in coming years.
Stranger things have happened.