It’s the first time the combined sales of Hyundai Motor and Kia reached the top 3 in the global market in 47 years since Hyundai produced its first vehicle, Pony.
Hyundai and Kia sold a total of 6.85 million vehicles globally last year, up 2.7 percent on the year, right after Toyota and Volkswagen.
Toyota was No. 1 with 10.5 million units and Volkswagen was in the second position with 8.5 million.
Hyundai and Kia beat Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which sold 6.16 million vehicles last year, and General Motors which sold 5.84 million.
Of the six largest automakers, Hyundai was the only company that saw a year-on-year increase in the units sold.
The Korean automaker was in the fifth position for more than a decade since 2010 when it first beat Ford. It moved up to fourth in 2020 but inched down to fifth the next year.
The strong performance is largely due to robust sales overseas, especially of premium Genesis vehicles and eco-friendly cars.
The combined share of Hyundai and Kia reached 10.8 percent in the U.S. market last year, and 9.4 percent in Europe, both record highs.
A total of 215,128 Genesis cars were sold last year, compared to only 384 in 2015.
Hyundai and Kia aim to sell 7.52 million vehicles this year, up 9.6 percent on the year.
BY SARAH CHEA [firstname.lastname@example.org]