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sabbasaun, I know posted a similar thread, but this one had enough different info that I thought it was worth posting...

Hyundai sales defy trends
By Cosby Woodruff • [email protected] • February 4, 2009

While sales of other automakers were still stuck in reverse, Hyundai's did something strange. They increased 14 percent last month compared to January 2008.

Most companies once again reported horrible sales in January, with Chrysler reporting a 55 percent drop from a year before and General Motors a 49 percent drop.

But Hyundai announced sharply higher sales, especially on its two Montgomery-made vehicles.

Sales of the Sonata, long the company's best-seller, jumped 85 percent to 8,508 units last month. Sales of the Santa Fe increased 35 percent to reach 5,024 units. Combined, that is a 63 percent increase in sales of the two models made at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.

That's good news for employees at the Montgomery plant, plant spokesman Robert Burns said.

"That is encouraging, no question," he said. "We hope the trend continues."

Still, Burns declined to say that the increase in sales would automatically result in an increase in work days. Employees at the plant worked only three days per week in January.

Although Burns declined to release February's production schedule, he said it remains closely matched to consumer demand.

Hyundai credited the sales increase to its Hyundai Assurance Program, which allows customers to return a vehicle if they lose their income under certain conditions. The program was introduced early last month.

"We got off to a quick start in January thanks to the rollout of our all new Hyundai Assurance Program, which has struck a chord with the American consumer during these uncertain times," Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America's vice president of national sales, said in a news release.

Hyundai said its sales were strongest in the company's Eastern region. Peter DiPersia, general manager of the Eastern region, agreed the Assurance Program helped spur those sales.

"Our dealers and consumers have embraced the Assurance Program in a big way," he said in the sales release. "This program gets to the root cause of today's economic concerns -- fear of job loss -- and shows consumers we have faith in them, and faith in our economy."

But Zuchowski said it wasn't just sales programs, but what was being sold.

"This momentum was further spurred by the announcement of Hyundai Genesis winning the North American Car of the Year award," he said. "We are encouraged by the strong start in January and are hopeful that this energy can be sustained into February as we launch the new Genesis Coupe and Elantra Touring."

Miles Johnson, a spokesman for Hyundai Motor America, said limited numbers of the Genesis Coupe would be in dealerships this month.

But sales of models made at other auto manufacturing plants in Alabama did not fare as well as Hyundai's. They fell along with the rest of the industry, according to information released Tuesday.

Mercedes-Benz reported 43 percent lower sales last month than the same month the year before. Its three Alabama-made models -- the R-, M- and GL-Class -- had a combined 58 percent decline in sales.

Honda reported lower sales, and every model except the Fit lost at least 20 percent of its sales last month.

Kia, Hyundai's corporate cousin, which is opening a manufacturing plant later this year at West Point, Ga., announced a 3.5 percent sales gain. The Sorento, which will be made at the Georgia plant, had a 299 percent sales increase from 1,213 units to 3,621.



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