Hyundai Shoves Ford Out As Fourth Largest Global Automaker, GM Plans Comeback

The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group is now the fourth largest automaker, besting Ford the first half of 2009. But this year's sales story is about rate of losses, not gains. Toyota better watch its back, GM's losing less and increasing production.

Hyundai finished the first two quarters with 2.153 million vehicles sold, compared to 2.145 for Ford. Of the ten biggest automakers, Ford took the biggest sales hit in the first half, dropping 30.6%.

This isn't the whole story. At the beginning of this year we were all worked up over Toyota knocking out GM as the world's largest automaker. According to the first-half numbers Toyota is ahead of GM by less than 12,000 vehicles — last year at this time, Toyota was ahead by over 200,000 units. Whereas GM sales are down 21.8%, Toyota's are down 26.0%. With six months to go GM is now increasing production at its Lordstown, Ohio and Ontario, Canada plants. Could we be in for a photo finish.

This isn't the whole story as sales don't directly correspond to profitability and Ford, like other automakers, partially prepared for this by drastically cutting back production. Still, the global ranking of manufacturers is a significant measurement for morale and this is yet another hit to the not-so-Big Three psyche.

Hyundai Shoves Ford Out As Fourth Largest Global Automaker, GM Plans Comeback

[Kia via AutoBlog]