DETROIT — Hyundai, the South Korean auto maker that began exporting cars to the United States last year, announced on Tuesday that it sold 168,882 of its Excel subcompacts in 1986, setting a sales record for an importer during its first year in the U.S. market.
The economically-priced Excel was introduced in the United States in mid-February last year. It surpassed the previous record for an importer's first year on the market--the Renault Dauphine's 48,148 units in 1958--within four months.
The company predicted that its 1987 U.S. sales total would reach 250,000 units.
Among other auto manufacturers that have released their year-end sales figures, Japan's Subaru said it sold a record 183,242 units, up 2.8% from the 178,175 sold in 1985. West Germany's BMW said it also set a sales record last year by selling 96,759 cars, a 10.1% increase over the 87,832 sold the previous year.
In its first full year in the U.S. market, Yugo America said it sold 35,959 of its Yugoslavian-built compacts. The company plans to import 60,000 of its low-priced Yugo GV's this year. Both Yugo and Hyundai boast the lowest suggested retail price in their class.
The other auto makers, including the major domestic and Japanese manufacturers, will report their year-end sales today.