U.S. sales rose for the 10th-straight month in May at Hyundai and Kia, helped by rising inventory and incentives and sharply higher fleet deliveries.
Hyundai deliveries jumped 18 percent to 70,001, with retail volume rising 8 percent to 64,070. The company said it delivered 5,931 vehicles to fleet customers, or 8.5 percent of total May sales.
Hyundai ended May with 47,671 light vehicles in U.S. inventory, down slightly from 49,045 at April’s close but more than double the 18,641 units in stock in May 2022.
Kia, still hampered by one of the industry’s lowest stockpiles, reported U.S. sales of 71,497, a jump of 23 percent and the company’s second-best month ever. Four of the brand’s core models — Soul, Seltos, Telluride and Carnival — posted big gains.
“More than two out of every three Kia vehicles sold in the U.S. today is a utility vehicle,” said Eric Watson, vice president of sales operations for Kia America. “In combination with our growing lineup of advanced electrified offerings, we have strong tailwinds to push our business forward for the remainder of the year.”
TrueCar estimated fleet sales rose 92 percent at Kia last month compared with May 2022.
Genesis set a May record with sales of 5,605, an increase of 27 percent, with the luxury brand’s two crossovers, the GV70 and GV80, and electrified variants of the G80 and GV70, driving most of the month’s gain. Genesis sales have now advanced seven consecutive months.
Most of the rest of the industry reports U.S. sales at the close of each quarter.
U.S. light-vehicle sales were expected to rise 18 to 20 percent in May, according to forecasts from J.D. Power, LMC Automotive, TrueCar, Cox Automotive and S&P Global Mobility.
The projected sharp rebound from 2022’s weakest month was driven by consumers returning to showrooms as selection improved and incentives rise, as well as continued strong fleet demand as automakers filled a backlog of orders from daily rental companies and commercial users. J.D. Power and LMC Automotive estimated fleet sales increased 50 percent in May from a year earlier.