Japanese automakers, boosted by their hybrid technology, posted sales gains in January, and South Korean automakers saw sales of their EVs increase, according to the latest sales figures published this week.
Toyota Motor North America reported sales in the U.S., the company’s most important market, increased by 23.3% on a volume basis. Toyota Division sales for the month totaled 143,241 vehicles, up 25.7% on a volume basis. Lexus Division sales for the month totaled 22,512 vehicles, up 10.1% on a volume basis, according to sales figures the company released this week.
TMNA’s January 2024 U.S. electrified sales totaled 60,248 vehicles, up 82.5% on a volume basis, representing 36.3% of total sales volume. Toyota Division’s electrified sales totaled 52,330 vehicles, up 94.4%, which represented 36.5% of total sales volume. Lexus Division’s electrified sales totaled 7,918 vehicles, representing 35.2% of total sales volume.
Toyota’s continuing success with its hybrid lineup and the fallout from the slowing sales of battery electric vehicles has prompted, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced the automaker would begin adding hybrid models to its model line.
More Japanese automakers
American Honda reported an upturn in electrified sales as its January sales increased 10.3% year over year, continuing the momentum the automaker established during 2023.
Honda brand sales topped 84,000 in January, a year-over-year increase of 12.7% on the strength of brisk sales of utility vehicles. Honda’s electrified sales set a January record of 17,004 units, with both CR-V and Accord hybrids posting best-ever January sales.
Acura sales, however, dropped by 9% despite strong sales of the Integra.
Mazda North American Operations reported total January sales of 30,279 vehicles, an increase of 31.8% compared to January 2023. With 25 selling days in January, compared to 24 the year prior, the company posted an increase of 26.6% on a Daily Selling Rate basis.
Subaru of America Inc. reported 44,510 vehicle sales for January 2024, a 0.8% increase compared with January 2023. January also marked the 18th consecutive month of month-over-month sales increases for the automaker.
“January was a strong sales start thanks to the hard work and commitment of our retailers,” said Jeff Walters, president and chief operating officer, Subaru of America Inc. “With new models poised to join our current lineup of trusted vehicles, we have big goals for 2024 and we are confident it will be a winning year.”
Subaru’s sales results in January continued an 18-month streak of consecutive year-over-year increases as retailers have doubled down on providing a customer experience that sets Subaru apart,” said Troy Poston, senior vice president of Sales. “Car buyers have increasingly more and more reasons to choose Subaru as we meet their needs with a line of vehicles that match their lifestyles.”
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South Korean brands
Genesis Motor America reported sales of 4,269 vehicle in January, representing a 9% increase vs. January 2023 and 15 consecutive months of year over year sales growth for the brand.
But two other South Korean brands saw their sales slip in January despite demand for their electrified models.
Hyundai Motor America reported total January sales of 47,543 units, a 9% decrease compared with January 2023. Hyundai’s electric vehicle sales grew 42%, while battery-electric and plug-in hybrid models saw a combined year-over-year increase of 77%.
“Coming off a record-breaking 2023, January was a difficult month with economic challenges and interest rates making it a tough retail environment,” said Randy Parker, CEO, Hyundai Motor America.
“There were bright spots with sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid achieving substantial year-over-year growth, and our all-new Santa Fe starting to arrive at dealerships,” Parker said.
Sales by the Kia brand also slipped during January, dropping 1.7%.
“Kia’s sales continually increased over the past few years, and we’ve established a solid foundation to build upon as the industry transitions to electrified models,” said Eric Watson, vice president sales operations, Kia America.
“With our flagship EV9 three-row EV SUV off to an impressive start after being named 2024 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year, and Kia’s rugged and capable SUVs continuing to gain market share, Kia will charge ahead in 2024 with six new and significantly redesigned vehicles scheduled to arrive in showrooms,” Watson said.