The shortage of key Japanese products, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic, appears to be having a big impact on the established automotive order.
After years as an also-ran in the compact market, for example, Chevrolet’s new Cruze has been outselling traditional segment leaders Civic and Toyota Corolla. Meanwhile, Hyundai can barely keep up with demand for its own new compact, the Elantra, which has seen sales more than double over the last year.
While company officials seem loathe to be seen as taking advantage of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, crippling that nation’s auto industry, analysts believe that the Korean maker is particularly well-positioned to benefit from the disaster.
“The Koreans are clearly in the best position” to benefit , suggested analyst David Sullivan, of the research and consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc.