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Hyundai's Excel Tops Car Sales in County

February 26, 1988|CARLOS LOZANO | Times Staff Writer

The South Korean-made Hyundai Excel was the top-selling import car and the Ford Taurus the top-selling domestic car in Orange County in 1987, a national publisher of motor vehicle statistics said.

The survey by R. L. Polk showed that during the first 11 months of 1987 Hyundai sold 6,619 Excels in Orange County while Ford sold 3,610 Tauruses.

"We're gratified but not surprised," said Ted Kade, a spokesman for Hyundai Motor America, which has its U.S. headquarters in Garden Grove. "California is one of our strongest markets."

The report also showed that the Excel was the top-selling model, domestic or import, in the state.

Hyundai, which entered the American market in 1986, sells three versions of the Excel, Kade said. The front-wheel-drive subcompact Excel is available in a two- and four-door hatchback, as well as a four-door sedan.

The Excel, Hyundai's only model in the United States, has a base price of $5,395, lower than any of its rivals except Yugoslavia's Yugo, which has a sticker price of $3,990.

Kade said Hyundai, with dealerships in Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Irvine and Buena Park, plans to introduce a new car model in 1989. "Eventually, we will be a full-line car company," he said.

Four of the five best-selling cars in the county were foreign. The top five, in order, were the Hyundai Excel, Honda Accord, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic and Ford Taurus.

Ford had three of the 10 best-selling domestic cars in Orange County, the survey showed. Ford Escort, the No. 1 domestic car in the country last year, placed second in domestic sales locally, while the Ford Mustang came in fifth.

"We're doing very well," Ford spokesman Robert Harnar said. "This is the first year we've outsold Chevrolet nationally in 30 years. But we've been doing it for the last five years in California."

The Taurus, with its standard 3-liter engine, is only available as a four-door sedan at a base price of $11,806, Harnar said.

As for the Hyundai sales figures, Harnar lamented: "I hate to plug (them), but they did that in one year. That's an incredible feat."

The survey showed that 106,539 new cars were sold in Orange County in the first 11 months of 1987. Top-selling auto makers in the county were Toyota, with 12,589 sales; Honda, 11,347; Ford 10,904; Nissan, 9,797, and Chevrolet, 7,246.

TOP-SELLING FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC CARS IN ORANGE COUNTY First 11 Months of 1987

FOREIGN

1. Hyundai Excel 6,619

2. Honda Accord 5,739

3. Nissan Sentra 4,671

4. Honda Civic 4,141

5. Toyota Camry 3,443

6. Toyota Corolla 3,001

7. Nissan Maxima 1,864

8. Acura Legend 1,853

9. Acura Integra 1,503

10. BMW 300 Series 1,399

DOMESTIC

1. Ford Taurus 3,610

2. Ford Escort 2,135

3. Cadillac Fleetwood DeVille 1,917

4. Chevrolet Camaro 1,608

5. Ford Mustang 1,492

6. Oldsmobile Ciera 1,435

7. Mecury Sable 1,373

8. Oldsmobile Delta 88 1,145

9. Chevrolet Celebrity 1,135

10. Chrysler LeBaron 922

Source: R. L. Polk

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