SEOUL-- Hyundai Motor Co. and its sister company Kia Motors Corp. outsold Toyota Motor Corp. in Mexico in the first half of this year, the South Korean carmakers said Monday.

The strong sales comes as Hyundai and Kia reported weak numbers in the key U.S. and Chinese markets due to a lack of new models and diplomatic rows, respectively.

The two Korean carmakers sold a combined 61,616 vehicles in Mexico in the first six months, up a solid 53 percent from 40,264 units a year earlier. Sales by rival Toyota rose 12 percent to 51,307 from 45,930 during the same period, data by the Asociacion Mexicana de la Industria Automotriz (AMIA) said.

The development marks the first time that Hyundai and Kia's combined sales exceeded those of Toyota in the North American country where the Japanese carmaker has been a leading player by selling an average of 100,000 vehicles per year, the companies said.

"In particular, robust sales of Hyundai's Accent subcompact, and Kia's Forte subcompact and the Soul boxcar contributed to the solid first-half results," a company spokesman said.

Kia currently produces the Forte (or K3) subcompact at its 400,000-unit-a-year plant in Pesqueria, Mexico.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, have a combined output capacity of 8.78 million units in their global plants.

In the first half, they sold 3,518,566 autos, down 8.7 percent from 3,851,954 units in the year-ago period, their sales data showed.

Source: Yonhap News Agency