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Just a couple of months ago, Hyundai and Kia sales were neck and neck in Australia, making for a serious battle between the Korean sister brands.
The tussle was significant given Kia – supposedly Hyundai Motor Group’s “secondary” brand – has never outsold Hyundai in Australia in a calendar year, and was clearly ready to pounce.
But now, following the release of year-end 2021 sales figures, it turns out the epic battle wasn’t so epic after all.
VFACTS data released this week shows that Hyundai ended the year in third place on 72,872 sales, a 12.2 per cent increase on its 2020 results. It trailed Toyota (223,642) in top spot and Mazda (101,119) in second.
Kia managed a healthy 21.2 per cent sales jump over 2020, ending up with 67,964 units, enough to scrape into fifth place on the leader’s table.
Hyundai managed to stretch its 850-unit gap with Kia to a tick under 5000 units in just three months.
That doesn’t sound like a huge amount, but given how close sales were between third, fourth, fifth and sixth place in 2021, it was enough for Hyundai take a decent lead.
In saying that, third-placed Ford gave Hyundai quite the scare. The Blue Oval brand ended 2021 with 71,380 sales, just 1492 behind Hyundai.
But the company managed to increase its sales in October and remained steady in November, while Kia went backwards both months. That allowed Hyundai to extend its lead.
The Kia Telluride large SUV is yet to be confirmed for Australia and the Pregio commercial van was ditched long ago.
Despite generally strong sales, Kia only just held onto fifth place. Mitsubishi was snapping at its heels with a total of 67,732 sales, just 232 units behind Kia.
Mitsubishi recorded a 16.1 per cent jump on its 2020 result, with every one of its model lines growing their share last year, except for the discontinued Pajero.
While the battle from third to sixth place was close, there was daylight between Mitsubishi in sixth and seventh-placed Nissan.
Nissan upped its sales by 7.7 per cent last year to record 41,263 registrations, but it appears to be in a sales battle against brands in the back end of the top 10. The Japanese carmaker just edged out Volkswagen (40,770), MG (39,025) and Subaru (37,015).
Given MG’s meteoric rise and Australian expansion plans, there’s every chance the Chinese challenger will climb further up the sales ladder in 2022.
Watch this space.