When all the sales numbers for the third quarter are totaled up next week, Hyundai/Kia could move past Stellantis in total sale for the first time, according to an analysis of recent sales trends by Cox Automotive.
Hyundai and Kia sales are combined because Hyundai owns Kia.
Charlie Chesbrough, Cox Automotive senior economist, said General Motors appears to have “won” the third quarter even though its sales retreated from the sales totals in the second quarter. Ford, Hyundai had a relatively strong quarter while Honda and Nissan had big declines, Chesbrough said.
GM will lead in sales for the third quarter, followed by Toyota and Ford — the top two swapping spots from Q3 last year.
Hyundai ekes past Stellantis in U.S. sales
But Hyundai is very likely to overtake Stellantis for the first time, according to a chart compiled by Cox, with Hyundai sales increasing by 5.4% year over year. Stellantis, the company with brands such as Jeep, Ram and Dodge, saw its sales drop 4.4% year to date.
Through the first nine months of 2023, Stellantis leads Hyundai by roughly 110,000 even as the gap narrowed from almost 200,000 units last year.
Chesbrough said while all inventories of new vehicles remain relatively slow, the inventories for Dodge, Jeep and Ram, three of Stellantis most crucial brands have been increasing steadily this year and are now estimated at above 60 days.
Stellantis also has been using more incentives to attract consumers, he added.
A forecast prepared by Edmunds indicates Stellantis will hang on to its fourth-place position once the numbers are tallied for the third quarter. But the shift in market share has been dramatic, according to Edmunds.
Stellantis’ market share has dropped to 11.6% from 12.3%, while the share of Hyundai-Kia is expected to shift in the third quarter to 11.5% from 10.6% one year ago, according to research Edmunds, which offers advice to consumers on new car purchases.
South Koreans command attention
The shift in sales numbers reflect Hyundai-Kia’s steady rise in the U.S. market.
New surveys by J.D. Power and S&P Mobility released this week show the South Korean brands now command greater consumer loyalty. They also have made an impression with aggressive product plans, which include the introduction of several battery electric vehicles.
Overall, Edmunds predicts third quarter for the third quarter will be down from year ago.
“Sales are expected to be down in the third quarter, but they won’t be in free fall,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “Although inventory levels should slowly pick up as improvements are made to the microchip supply chain, additional headwinds such as rising interest rates, inflation and looming economic uncertainty threaten to offset much of this progress. Consumer confidence could deflate moving forward, but automakers and dealers can at least always count on necessity-based vehicle purchases keeping the industry afloat.”