These 8 Automakers Sold 10+ Million Vehicles in the US the Fastest

Kia was celebrating this week after moving its 10 millionth car in the United States. It took the company 29 years, entering the US market in 1993 as an offshoot of the Korean Hyundai brand. The 10 millionth vehicle was fittingly one of its new electric vehicles, a Kia EV6 electric hatch.

"Selling 10 million vehicles is a significant achievement and we at Kia are proud not only how far we've come, but also what the future has in store as we continue our push for sustainable mobility leadership," said Sean Yoon, president & CEO, Kia North America and Kia America in a press release.

Kia broke the 100,000 sold per year barrier in 1999 and by 2001 was over 200,000 in sales. It crossed the 300,000 mark in 2009, hit 500,000 per year in 2012 and in 2021 moved the tally to more than 700,000 vehicles.

The brand is one of many to hit 10 million. Ford made more than 10 million Model Ts alone, while General Motors and Chrysler hit the mark decades ago.

Here's a look at the latest automakers to hit the mark and how long it took them to do so.

Honda: 25 years (1970-1995)

2023 Honda HR-V
The 2023 Honda HR-V will be more powerful than the previous model. American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda is one of the country's most popular imported brands, landing on our shores in 1970 and crossing the 10 million barrier in just 25 years. It first sold the tiny N600, which gave way to the Honda Civic that lives on today. Honda's bigger Accord family crossed the 10 million mark itself in 2014.

The current lineup includes a full range of SUVs and sedans, with the electric Honda Prologue crossover on the way. It has 12 plants in the United States producing about 5 million vehicle annual for sale around the world. The Japanese company is fifth biggest in the industry, with a revenue just north of $125 billion.

Nissan: 29 years (1960-1989)

2023 Nissan Z
The 2023 Nissan Z features taillights meant to look like the early Datsun Zs. Nissan North America

In the 1950s, Nissan expanded its global reach from Japan, showing off the Datsun Bluebird at the 1958 Los Angeles Auto Show. It opened its first North American plant in Mexico in 1966 but it wasn't until the 1980s that it built a plant in the U.S. to avoid tariffs.

Nissan held steady around 600,000 in sales from 1980 to 2003. It stayed closer to a million sales per year after that with sedans like the Altima and Maxima, and SUVs like the Pathfinder and 4Runner. The brand has now sold almost 40 million vehicles in the U.S. and its electric Ariya crossover will be here this year.

Hyundai: 30 years (1986-2016)

2023 Hyundai Palisade
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade shares a platform with the Kia Telluride. Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai crossed the 10 million threshold in early 2016, after 30 years in the American market. In that first year it only sold one car, the small Excel sedan. When it crossed that mark, Hyundai was the fifth largest automaker in the world, though it has slipped to tenth recently with the addition of Chinese company SAIC and the creation of Stellantis from Fiat-Chrysler and PSA Group holdings.

After producing the Hyundai Genesis sedan in its own lineup for eight years, it was 2017 when the luxury brand spun out on its own with the Genesis G80.

Toyota: 34 years (1957-1991)

2023 Toyota Highlander
The 2023 Toyota Highlander is expected to go on sale this fall. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Toyota entered the market in 1957 and took about 34 years to reach the vaunted 10 million mark. For the last 28 years sales have been fluctuating between 1 and 2 million per year. The Japanese automaker is now the second largest in the industry after Volkswagen.

A Toyota spokesperson noted that the U.S. market in the '60s, '70s and '80s was much smaller compared to the last 30 years, which is why it took them that time to reach the mark. In 1980 the U.S. market was about 11 million units. Lately it's been hovering around 15 to 17 million units total.

Mazda: 43 years (1970-2013)

2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
The Mazda MX-5 Miata can be driven hard every day, which is part of its charm. Mazda North America

Mazda sold its 10 millionth vehicle, a 2013 Mazda3, to a customer in Illinois before immediately buying it back and selling Lauren Carter of Glen Ellin, Ill., a 2014 Mazda Mazda3 for the same price. The company wanted to preserve the milestone for its heritage collection. The company crossed 200K sales per year in 1982 and hasn't looked back.

"The first 10 million vehicles sold in the U.S. were reached through taking the road less travelled. The next 10 million will be accomplished by defying convention, continuing to push the limits of engineering, and infusing every vehicle Mazda builds with the soul of a sports car," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda's North American operations at the time, in a press release.

Volkswagen: 48 years (1949-1997)

2024 Volkswagen ID. Buzz
The electric 2024 Volkswagen ID. Buzz has a long-wheelbase version that will be sold in America. Volkswagen of America

Volkswagen, now the biggest automaker with a revenue of $263.6 billion, was one of the first foreign car companies to make waves in the United States. It took the company 48 years to sell 10 million vehicles, but like Toyota, its most recent years have been more profitable that earlier years, though the brand did crest a half-million vehicles sold per year in the late '60s and early '70s.

The next decade will be mostly electric with its ID-range of vehicles, which started with the ID.4 that's already on sale here in the U.S. The next electric vehicle coming from VW is the retro electric ID.Buzz van, which arrives in 2023.

Subaru: 51 years (1968-2019)

2023 Subaru Solterra
Reservations are now open for Subaru's first all-electric SUV. Subaru of America Inc.

Subaru sold its 10 millionth vehicle a few years ago, and the new owner took delivery of his 2019 Subaru Impreza at Nate Wade Subaru in Salt Lake City, the oldest Subaru retailer in the country. The company took 41 years to reach its first 5 million in sales and just 10 years to sell 5 million more.

Subaru started with a model called the 360 microcar and sold a total of 332 vehicles in its first year. It now has an entire lineup of sports cars, SUVs and sedans with the electric Subaru Solterra going on sale this summer.

Who's Next?

Mercedes Vision AMG
The Vision AMG has taillights meant to look like exhaust pipes.

There are a few automakers on the cusp of 10 million in sales including Mercedes-Benz (8.527 million), BMW (7.894 million) and Lexus (7.096 million). Mitsubishi, which landed in the States in 1982 is next at about 5.5 million. Acura, Volvo and Audi follow, followed by some of the more specialty marques like Infiniti, Land Rover, Porsche, Jaguar and MINI.