For the first time ever Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group has outsold Ford to the number four spot in the global auto sales ranking. Hyundai-Kia sold 2.153 million units in the first six months of this year while Ford sold 2.145 million. The U.S. carmaker trailed by 8,000 units and fell to fifth place in the ranking. It seems likely that the Korean auto manufacturer will maintain its ranking for the year, as its sales fell by only 5% on-year in the first half while Ford saw its sales drop more than 30%.

Ranked 10th in global sales in 2000, Hyundai-Kia soared to sixth place in 2006 and maintained the fifth spot from 2007. But experts believed that taking fourth place would be a much greater challenge as last year it trailed Ford by about a million units. Hyundai-Kia may even climb to third place within a few years because U.S.-based General Motors recently separated from Opel, which is in charge of production and sales in Europe, and is unlikely to see improvement in U.S. sales for some time.