April was another tough month for carmakers but amidst all the doom and gloom was some positive news for South Korean duo Hyundai-Kia. Despite seeing sales decline more than 14% last month, Hyundai-Kia managed to overtake Nissan for sixth place in U.S. new car sales on the back of several exciting new models. The combined sales of Hyundai-Kia totaled 59,558 units, with Hyundai selling 33,952 new cars and Kia managing 25,606 units.

The overall industry fared much worse, with carmakers seeing their sales levels plunge an average 34% on levels just one year ago. Nissan’s sales dropped even further in April, falling 38% on last year’s levels to 47,190 units. Those figures saw Hyundai-Kia ranked sixth in the American market with a 7.4% share of the market - a first for the company.

Hyundai’s quality and reliability have improved substantially in the past couple of years and not only have we seen this in the company’s strong sales but also in awards like the coveted North American Car of the Year title for the Genesis saloon. Strong sales of new models like the Kia Soul and Genesis Coupe also helped the carmaker improve its position during one of the worst sales slumps in automotive history.

As for the other players, General Motors kept its top position, followed by Ford, Toyota, Honda and Chrysler.

New car sales in April 2009:
1) General Motors - 172,150
2) Ford – 129,476
3) Toyota – 122,098
4) Honda – 101,029
5) Chrysler – 76,682
6) Hyundai-Kia – 59,558
7) Nissan – 47,190