The Korean manufacturers' share of the United States passenger car market has passed five per cent, the Korea Automobile Association said.

Quoting Ward's Automotive Reports, the association said that 154,806 Korean cars were sold in the first four months of this year, snapping up a 5.6 percent share of the market.

For the same period last year, the Korean industry's share was 4.1 percent, or 123,722 vehicles.


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Detroit's 'big three' - General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler - lost share from 57.6 percent to 53.7 percent while Japan's slice crept up from 30 to 32 per cent.

The association said that Korean cars are gaining popularity in the U.S. market, thanks to improved quality and diverse models.

In the last year Hyundai, for example, has introduced a new compact Elantra sedan to critical acclaim and added the luxury XG30 to its range at a price that undercuts domestic and Japanese brand rivals by thousands of dollars.

Affiliate Kia has also launched the well equipped mid-sized Optima sedan which is based on Hyundai technology.

The Koreans are not on a roll everywhere, though. Despite the launching of those same new models that have brought increased success in North America, Western European Korean passenger car sales fell 31.6 percent during the January-April period to 135,014 units, compared with a year ago.

That reduced the Korean car makers' share to 2.5 per cent from 3.6 per cent a year earlier.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

The world's car manufacturers: A financial and operating review

Automotive regional report: North America

Automotive country report: South Korea

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