May U.S. auto sales: Hyundai, Kia set records


Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. sales continued to rebound in May behind a 90 percent surge in car demand, helping the company to a 47 percent overall gain on volume of 242,171, despite severe supply-chain disruptions that have sharply depleted the company’s inventory heading into June.

After rising 170 percent in April, the automaker’s light-truck sales rose 30 percent in May, in line with the company’s first-quarter results, even as dealer supplies of core crossovers fall.  

Volume rose 47 percent at the Toyota division and 49 percent at Lexus last month.

But the Toyota brand is starting June with an 8-day supply of vehicles, while Lexus has a 12-day supply, Bob Carter, executive vice president for sales at Toyota Motor North America, told Automotive News on Wednesday.

The difference for Toyota right now “is throughput,” Carter added. “We still have cars coming in.”

Hyundai and Kia, deftly navigating the supply crunch that has upended the industry as the economy reopens in the wake of the pandemic, set U.S. sales records for the third straight month in May, helped in large part by robust retail demand for light trucks.

Volume jumped 56 percent to 90,017 at Hyundai and 75 percent to 80,298 at Kia, compared with May 2020, when the nation was still hunkered down in the early months of the outbreak. Kia noted “significantly accelerated showroom traffic” over the Memorial Day holiday as consumer activity rebounds and restrictions on households lift.

Hyundai said retail demand also set a monthly record of 84,351 in May, for a gain of 54 percent. Fleet shipments increased 95 percent and represented 6 percent of total volume, or about 5,400 units, Hyundai said.

“Consumer demand across the Hyundai lineup remains strong and we continue to work closely with our manufacturing and supply chain partners to meet this extraordinary demand,” Randy Parker, senior vice president for national sales at Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement.

At Genesis, May volume jumped 176 percent to 3,728, a monthly record for the luxury upstart. Genesis launched sales of the GV70 crossover last month and the brand’s two utility vehicles outsold combined deliveries of its three sedans. The GV80 set a monthly record on 2,037 units sold.

Mazda, one of the few automakers to post a gain in 2020, said May volume rose 69 percent to 42,187.

U.S. light-vehicle deliveries are forecast to continue a sharp rebound in May – up nearly 40 percent according to projections — even as inventories continue to fall because of tight microchip supplies.

Honda Motor Co., Subaru and Volvo are expected to release May sales later Wednesday. Ford Motor Co. will report results for the month on Thursday.



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