Skip to main content

While 2020 was a trying year for all markets, 2021 is shaping up to be OK for those in the automotive sector. Sales were up overall for most brands, but Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis led the way. With demand for light trucks in overdrive, will the push for electric vehicles continue to drive sales?

Hyundai and Kia are setting records

Kia cars sit in a row on awaiting export
Kia vehicles bound for export await shipment as the Hyundai and Kia report record sales for the first quarter | Seung-il Ryu/NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to Automotive News, both Hyundai and Kia had quite the month. In March, volume rose 47% to 66,523 units sold. That was a 16% rise for the quarter. For Hyundai, volume rose an astonishing 115%. That was an increase to 75,403 units sold.

The Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride have seen an increase in popularity lately, which could account for some of the sales spike.

For the quarter, Hyundai sales rose 28%. In addition to that, Hyundai’s Genesis brand rose 108% in sales volume. With a smaller fleet, that was 8,222 units sold. Not bad for three sedans in the lineup.

Will this trend carry over into the second quarter? That depends if production can keep up.

Toyota and Honda had a solid first quarter as well

GM noted that for the first quarter of 2021, sales rose 3.7% for the company. Most notably, light trucks were moving off the lot at a quick pace. Deliveries were up 11% for GMC, 35% for Buick, and 23% at Cadillac. The one brand that dropped in sales was Chevrolet, down 1.9%.

For Ford, a smaller increase of 0.7% was noted. Lincoln fell 0.6% overall. Jeep posted gains of 8% and Ram rose 16% for the first quarter.

Toyota had a huge first quarter, rising 84% for that brand and 113% at Lexus. Deliveries for the cars were up 6.4%. Honda volume was at 86% and 153% at Acura. Deliveries for the brand were up 16% overall.

Dave Gardner, executive VP of national operations at Honda, said, “One year after the global pandemic began to take its toll on the auto industry, it’s great to return to form.”

Will this positive trend continue?

Automotive News notes that discounts for cars were huge for March. The average incentive was just over $3,5000, up from $888 back in 2020. While this is good news, inventory for cars is dropping as supply chain issues plague automotive companies.

“According to Cox Automotive, current supplies at dealerships total 2.67 million cars and light trucks, down approximately 20,000 units from last week and the lowest point since mid-January,” David Phillips of Automotive News noted.

There will likely be a lull in sales with the demand for light pickup trucks at an astronomical rate while inventory restocks. Sales are outpacing the rate at which automakers can produce cars and trucks.

One interesting piece of information is the number of days a vehicle would sit on the lot before being purchased. In March 2020, that number was around 73 days. For March of 2021, cars sat on the lot for around 53 days before going home.


The Honda CR-V SUV Beat the Mazda CX-5, Kia Telluride