Hyundai, Kia Aiming for Solar Roofs Starting in 2019
Imagine a parked vehicle that slowly sucks dino juice from vast, underground deposits through its tires. That’s essentially what Hyundai Motor Group wants to do with its vehicles, the only difference being the energy source and the direction it’s coming from.
Despite being talked about for years, solar roofs on automobiles haven’t seen widespread adoption. Cost, practicality, and rollover safety concerns mean the largest user of the technology is the Japanese and European-market Toyota Prius Prime. Now, Hyundai wants to go solar in a big way, starting next year.
The automaker wants buyers to know that solar roofs aren’t useless for regular, gas-swilling vehicles, either.
Hyundai Ioniq Sales Are Low, Inventory Ramp-Up Is Slow, Kia Niro Is the One Making Dough
Since arriving early this year, Hyundai Motor America has managed only a meager 4,881 sales of its Prius-fighting Ioniq. Hyundai is certain there are far more Ioniq sales that could occur, however, if only Hyundai had the Ioniqs to sell.
Supply isn’t just tight — the Ioniq Electric is essentially nonexistent at Hyundai’s showrooms in California, the only state where it’s (supposed to be) available.
Yet while Hyundai awaits greater Ioniq inventory, the lack of which is clearly to blame for the low volume to date, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Kia came out on top in this deal.
The Koreans' American Battle: In May 2017, Kia Outsold Hyundai for the First Time Ever
May 2017 was not a particularly healthy sales month for either of South Korea’s two major automakers in the United States. Including Hyundai’s Genesis spinoff brand, the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group declined 12 percent, year-over-year — a loss of more than 15,000 sales for the trio of Korean brands compared with May 2016.
Korea’s U.S. auto market share thus fell to 7.8 percent in May 2017, a drop of a full percentage point. In a market that’s seen sales fall 2 percent overall through the first five months of 2017, total Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group sales are down 7 percent following record annual volume in 2016.
Hyundai and Kia both underperformed the market in May, just as they’re both underperforming the market through the first five months of 2017. But by an altogether different standard, one member of the group will be pleased with May’s U.S. sales results.
In May 2017, for the first time in the brands’ U.S. sales history, Kia sold more new vehicles than Hyundai. Kia outsold Hyundai. Yes, it was the first time. But it surely won’t be the last.
2017 Kia Sportage First Drive - The RDX Alternative
In case you didn’t know it, Kia’s on a roll. Sales have more than doubled since 2009, propelling Kia from a Mazda-sized player in the American market to one that outsold established brands like Subaru, GMC, Chrysler and Volkswagen.
Kia’s transformation may seem like a night-and-day makeover, but closer inspection reveals that it’s really the result of consistent incremental improvements to its products, frequent designs and refreshes, and astute pricing.
You can think of the Sportage as the final piece of Kia’s evolving puzzle. Sales may be on a roll for the Korean automaker, but the Sportage has never sold in large numbers. It finished 14th in a segment of 17 models last year. (The Sportage beat the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Chevrolet Captiva Sport). It could be that the Kia Sorento did a better job of nipping at the heels of mid-trim Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V models. For 2017, Kia gives us a new Sportage targeted more at Mazda and Ford than Toyota.
Chart Of The Day: Is Kia About To Catch Hyundai In U.S. Sales?
Hyundai’s U.S. operations produced record sales in calendar year 2014 and in the process outsold Kia – which also reported record sales last year – by an average of 12,000 sales per month. That gap was narrower than in 2013, when Hyundai typically outsold Kia by more than 15,000 sales per month.
But after outselling its Kia partner by 6,206 units in January of this year, 8475 units in February, 16,248 in March (Hyundai Motor America’s best ever month), and 14,727 units in April, Hyundai’s favourable gap narrowed to only 1,177 units in May.
July Fleet Sales: Detroit Down, Asians Up
After a continuing effort to reduce reliance on fleet sales in the U.S. market, all three domestic American automakers reported declining fleet sales in July while they were up significantly at Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai-Kia. Chrysler fleet sales were down 36 percent from the same period last year, Ford was down 9 percent and GM down 6 percent. In terms of units, the domestic brands’ fleet sales were down 15,300 vehicle. Meanwhile, sales to fleets were up 34% at Toyota, up 43% at Hyundai-Kia Automotive and a whopping 87 percent at Nissan’s North American operations.