Despite The Doom And Gloom Of Industry-Wide Inventory Shortages, August Was A Really Good Sales Month For Hyundai

Morning Dump Hyundai Sales

Hyundai’s August sales show signs of a possible rebound, Honda is still struggling with inventory, Mercedes-Benz prices the EQS SUV in the six figure range. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Hyundai And Kia Had A Great Month

Hyundai sales Elantra N
Photo credit: Thomas Hundal

As a glimmer of light through the dark times of the car shortage, Hyundai and Kia have posted some fantastic sales numbers for the month of August. Let’s delve more into Hyundai first. The Korean brand sold 64,335 vehicles in August, up 14 percent year-over-year. Top sellers from first to third are the Elantra compact, the Tucson compact crossover, and the Santa Fe midsize crossover. Hey, look at this, an actual car on top of a mainstream brand’s sales chart. How rare is that? Hyundai reports in a media release that it “did not have any fleet sales this month,” and that inventory is on the come-up.

“We’re seeing inventory begin to rebound which resulted in strong sales this month,” said Randy Parker, CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “Despite estimates of an overall industry decline our sales were driven by high demand for our product line of SUVs and eco-friendly vehicles.”

Year-over-year sales were also up at Kia, with the Korean brand having its best August ever in terms of sales. Kia sold an impressive 66,089 vehicles in America last month, with the Sportage compact crossover, Forte compact, and Sorento midsize crossover making up more than half of those sales. While it looks like someone tore the new Sportage’s face off, the Forte and Sorento are both pretty good vehicles at good prices, and the general public seems to agree by putting money behind them. What’s more, Kia said in a media release that production struggles may ease soon.

“In light of ongoing supply challenges across the industry, achieving a best-ever August sales performance is a testament to the strength of our product lineup, our dealers and our employees,” said Eric Watson, vice president, sales operations, Kia America. “We are optimistic that production through the end of the year will improve and further the success of our all-new Sportage, EV6, upcoming redesigned Telluride and more.”

Between these recent sales jumps and Kia feeling that production will soon improve, it’s entirely possible that we’re seeing peak car shortage. Of course, getting out of this hole will require a lot of luck and planning. War in Europe can have unpredictable impacts on suppliers, as could any future COVID outbreaks.

Honda Had A Really Bad Month

2023 Honda HR-V EX-L sales
Photo credit: Honda

Let’s check in and see how the other brand with an H for an emblem is doing. Oh dear, it seems like Honda didn’t have a particularly good August. While sales of 63,923 vehicles doesn’t sound too bad, that represents a 36.3 percent year-over-year drop. Things are even worse on the Acura side of things, with 7,537 vehicles sold representing a 49.3 percent drop year-over-year. Still, Honda seems to be pointing out the positives in this gloomy situation.

Light truck sales lead Honda as Ridgeline posts its second-best August of all time, Pilot and Passport also record strong sales.

All-new HR-V sales top 6,700 units, as inventory begins to catch up with demand and strong pre-sales continue.

However, Honda is still struggling with getting vehicles on lots. According to a media release, “High turn rates continue for both Honda and Acura brands; inventory days supply remains in single digits.” While the earlier statement on strong HR-V sales as inventory catches up to demand suggests that things may soon improve for Honda, next month’s sales report really could go either way.

Mercedes-Benz Prices The EQS SUV

Mercedes-Benx EQS SUV

We finally have pricing for the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV and it’s about as expensive as I expected. First, let’s unpack this alphabet soup. EQ means electric, S means S-Class, and SUV means the ability to run over the curbs in the Starbucks drive-thru with impunity. In addition, there are some numbers after EQS SUV that have no direct attachment to power or range, so they’re really just there to advertise how rich the owner is. With that out of the way, let’s get into pricing.

All EQS SUVs are subject to a $1,150 freight charge, so I’m factoring that in here. The base EQS 450+ SUV stickers for $105,550, rising to $108,550 if you want all-wheel-drive. The more powerful EQS 580 SUV stickers for $127,100, and that’s before adding any option packages. Figure an extra $4,250 for the Exclusive package to get goodies like four-zone climate control and massaging seats, and an extra $2,000 on top of that for the Pinnacle package which includes executive rear seating.

A GLS 580 stickers for $102,300 including a $1,050 freight charge, so a base price of $105,550 for the EQS 450 doesn’t seem all that crazy. Granted, the GLS 580 does feature all-wheel-drive and a thumping great V8 under the hood, but EV components aren’t cheap either so it makes sense how things largely even out. In any case, Mercedes’ Alabama plant is already churning out EQS SUVs for an autumn launch.

Cruise Recalls Its Autonomous Vehicle Fleet

20210407 Baxtowner Cruise Cama Chinatown 707356 Crop
Photo credit: Cruise

With autonomy being the automotive buzzword of the past several years, it’s worth keeping in mind that making safe autonomous cars is incredibly hard. Reuters reports that all 80 Cruise autonomous vehicles have been recalled and re-programmed after a crash back in June.

Federal regulators said the recalled software could “incorrectly predict” an oncoming vehicle’s path. Cruise said it had determined this unusual scenario would not recur after the software update.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the recalled software could “in certain circumstances when making an unprotected left, cause the (autonomous driving system) to incorrectly predict another vehicle’s path or be insufficiently reactive to the sudden path change of a road user.”

In order for an autonomous vehicle to achieve safety superior to that of a human driver, there need to essentially be no incorrect predictions of another vehicle’s path. While that sounds like an impossibly high bar, the fact is that humans are generally fairly good at driving. NHTSA statistics show that in 2019, the last year of normal vehicle travel, approximately 2.07 police-reported crashes occurred per million miles traveled, and that includes single-vehicle crashes. While NHTSA says that Cruise’s update should fix issues with incorrectly predicting an oncoming vehicle’s path, it remains to be seen whether any similar bugs crop up in testing. Perhaps that whole clustering thing can be fixed next.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to the end of the week. Best of all, it’s a long weekend for many of you, which means extra time to do car things. With that in mind, I’d love to ask what your automotive plans are for this holiday weekend. Are you going on a road trip to see family, fixing that little interior squeak that’s been driving you up the wall, or simply ordering parts for your winter project? Whatever your plans are, I want to hear about them.

Lead photo credit: Hyundai

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35 Responses

  1. No. No. No. The sales of compact cars for Hyundai and Kia are all lies! Ford and General Motors has already told us no-one buys cars anymore. This is clearly fake news.

  2. Kia/Hyundai are killing it right now. They have a lot of competitive products that usually undercut the competition on price…with the highlights being their EVs (so hot right now), the Palisade/Telluride twins, the Genesis products (particularly the GV70), and of course the N cars. If you haven’t had a chance to drive an N yet so yourself a favor and track one down. They’re amazing enthusiast cars that nail the fun factor better than any of their competitors. They might not always time the fastest or be the most refined…but they’re an emotional driving experience that just doesn’t really exist at the 33-36k.

    I was planning on getting a GR Corolla and decided to check the Elantra N out just to make sure I wasn’t missing out. I wound up loving it/the N brand so much that I traded in my mk7.5 GTI on one. I have 0 regrets. Not one.

    This weekend I have a date with my favorite backroads. My family has a place on the water out in the country where we go to have some peace and quiet. There are some really amazing, high speed roads down there that are the main reason I bother having a sporty car in the first place. Like 80% of my driving is miserable urban commuting….but every couple of weeks I get to drive on roads that are too nice and too remote not to be driven hard on.

    That being said, I think the Kona N has higher limits than I’ll be able to find reasonably responsibly on public roads. I’m hoping to do some auto cross in it this fall.

        1. I thought I did! Just adding to it! Your story is one that I’m sure H/K is banking on during these times. Their cars have been getting high marks across the board, but are still largely ignored because of the badge. This is a prime opportunity for them to show off what they got. A friend of mine has been waiting on the new CTR, but is really considering the Elantra N instead based on price/availability/value. Could be another convert…

  3. The plan had been to take the family camping in the travel trailer. Short trip to a river where we could enjoy the outdoors. Not sure if the weather is going to support that right now.

    In other thoughts, my daily driver which is the tow vehicle for the camper is getting on in years. Its still reliable, but I don’t want to put 15k+ miles a year on it anymore. Also, trucks are just too expensive. So my solution after a bunch of research is to get a car no one likes. I’ve placed an order for the 2023 Chevy Bolt EV. The lower price plus the tax credit makes this thing the best deal in short commuter cars available right now. I feel like people are missing that.

    1. Don’t worry, there are plenty of us that like the Bolt who own them. I got mine almost 5 years /70k miles ago as a commuter, and now it’s our primary vehicle for over 90% of our driving. The software is garbage, but hopefully they have improved it in the last 5 years, but they did a really good job on the packaging and drive. After dealing with chevy (corporate and dealerships) and their we don’t give a shit attitude with the battery recall, I have zero desire to have another vehicle from GM again, which is letdown to the people who designed the car. I finally did find a good dealership 250 miles away that fixed everything, so there’s a good chance that I won’t need to take it anywhere but a tire shop for several more years. If they have all their issues sorted out now, there’s a good chance you can make it 200k miles with only a coolant flush for dealership maintenance, at which point it will likely have paid for itself in fuel and maintenance savings.

  4. Short one for me today, as I’m on an Amtrak headed for NYC. We need to fucking fund Amtrak properly and stop pretending they can do their jobs when the Class 1’s can endlessly hold their scheduled train up for just in time freight.
    Take the train. It’s worth it. We need to make it possible for them to run real passenger service.

    “I’d love to ask what your automotive plans are for this holiday weekend.”

    What I’m doing right now – going to pick up the best Sweden ever made. The 9-3 Viggen. Then driving it 9 hours home. After spending a night in the most miserable place on earth.
    No I will not throw eggs at their offices. If I see the Herbs, I will tell them they are Herbs.

    1. That blue is one of my favorite car colors ever. Enjoy it…I’ll bet it’s a riot. Front wheel drive performance cars are more fun when they’re less refined. The flawed driving experience is what makes them enjoyable.

  5. A “Morning Dump” actually posted in the morning? Damn.
    I am hoping to do as little as possible this weekend, as my next two months are fully booked. Though now that you mention it my Alfa has developed a super annoying interior squeak, so yeah, there’s that.

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  6. Selling the 996 tomorrow that I never found the time to drive or work on enough.

    A bit bittersweet, but I will be able to use the proceeds toward restoring the Blazer that hopefully will be ready for cruising by next summer.

  7. This weekend? Taking one (the Cruze Diesel) up north for the next week and a half, while the other three will stay back home. It just gave me a good reason to do a full interior/exterior detailing on it so it is nice and clean for us to spend so much time in.

    Black cars are an absolute pain to keep clean…but holy hell do they look good when they are. The ceramic coating it got last winter seems to make that even more impressive when washed and waxed.

  8. Dropping the boy off at Lime Rock for the weekend of can collection with the Scouts. Be kind to him and his buddies, please.

    Left rear wheel bearing in the CTS to solve the ABS issue (pieces of the magnet ring have delaminated, I’m guessing). Ordered it last night, will pick it up tomorrow morning.

    September is car month at my house.

  9. Harvest is coming, so Monday will be a work day at the farm to get all those vehicles ready.

    And someday I’ll get the 102K spark plug change done on my truck, possibly at the same time as the 120K change.

  10. I’m taking a 3.5 hour trip in my s2000 to a party held every labor day. It’s the first time I’ve been able to go since 2019!

    Normally I take an 8 hour way that takes me through the Blue Ridge Parkway, but my cruise control died and one of my eyes is dilated for the next few weeks, so I need to minimize the time on the road.

    Still, I’ll take some twisty back roads so it isn’t all boring highway driving.

    Hopefully I don’t get a speeding ticket as cruise control is what I use to keep me out of trouble.

  11. Oh man, I have a lot to do this weekend, come to think of it…

    – Get the MG ready for next week’s big British car show – check everything out, go for a spirited drive to blow out all the cobwebs, wash/wax
    – Change the oil in the Infiniti, and investigate an exhaust noise while I’m under there
    – Relocate the trailer wire plug on the Infiniti, because the shop that installed the hitch put it in a really stupid place and it has bothered me long enough
    – Make a list of what I need to do to the trailer before the big rally in October
    – Clean and organize the workbenches in the garage – they’ll stay that way for exactly five minutes, but I need to do it once in a while

    How many days do we have? Three? Yikes.

  12. The thing right now is I don’t think sales numbers aren’t actually associated with popularity right now.

    Like, let’s say I want to buy a Honda. I walk down to my local Honda dealer and there are no new cars. They had an HRV for under a week but that’s the last time I saw something new on their lot.

  13. I bought a set of super clean OEM take-off tail lights, $20 for the pair, to put on my JKU. Mine have a vertical crack from someone overtightening the mounting screw on the driver side housing; the passenger side isn’t much better. So those will go on this weekend. I might also do some adjustments on the doors if I get the ambition. For non-auto related plans, I’m going to be putting in new flooring in my homebrewery.

  14. Hyundai/Kia doesn’t surprise me as it’s really hard to find a good, cheap car these days, and the Elantra/Forte probably fly under the radar for many, leaving some inventory for people to actually, you know, buy.

    Acura is more troubling as some of their numbers are for the Integra, which is a 100% YoY gain as it was not sold at all last year.

    1. I wonder how sustainable the Integra sales are. There’s certainly a pent-up demand but I’m not sure that a Civic SI clone is going to be a big seller over time

      1. I’m legitimately curious about this as well. Are people actually loving them, or is this just the initial wave of hype from the absolute juggernaut of a media onslaught that Honda put behind this car? If you’ve been on any car related media in the last year and a half you’ve been absolutely bombarded by Integra content.

        On paper it just doesn’t seem like a good buy at all. It’s a Civic SI in a tux…and the current Civic SI really isn’t even a great buy other than the fact that it’s cheaper than the competition. Spending a few grand more gets you wayyyyyy more power and the option of a legit automatic with VW or Hyundai, not to mention AWD with the WRX. People claim that CVT is interesting too but I refuse to consider a CVT on principle.

        Unless the only thing you care about is an excellent manual transmission, which Honda does better than anyone, neither car is all that amazing, no matter how many YouTubers and car bloggers Honda has paid to try to convince us it is. The SI has literally lost power over the years…and I get that power isn’t everything, but 200 vs the 240-280 the competition offers is a stark difference.

        Hopefully I can get behind the wheel of one at some point soon, because on paper I can’t for the life of me figure out why you’d buy an Integra or an SI. They just seem DOA to me personally…and to be honest I’m a bit cynical about them due to the content fatigue they’ve given me. With the amount of media coverage they’ve gotten you’d think Honda made a first gen NSX clone for 30 grand….

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