European car buyers have a favorite Asian automaker, and its name is no longer Toyota. Hyundai and Kia have tag-teamed to best the longtime Japanese automaker, with a four percent overall rise in total units through the first ten months of 2010. During that same period, Toyota-Lexus sales have fallen 17 percent, with Hyundai at 521,369 vehicles sold compared to 511,754 for Toyota.
Toyota’s recent tough road, along with the expanding number of quality offerings from Hyundai-Kia, have allowed the Seoul train to slide past the Japanese brand. Unless Toyota picks up the pace, that gap could widen because the Korean company is understood to have a greater number of new models planned for its European portfolio.
Of course, Hyundai has a long road ahead if it wishes to make the same claim here in the States, but it’s certainly moving in the right direction. Overall sales in the U.S. have risen 21 percent and demand for the redesigned Sonata has jumped 64 percent.
While their sales aren’t even over 10,000 more, it is understandable that Hyundai is starting to raise to the top and might be taking Honda and Toyota by surprise. Let’s just hope their rise to the top doesn’t make them too GM-ish where they just sit at the top and say “We’re #1 right now, lets just forget about any new ideas or anything else while others catch up to US”