It’s another day, another new sales record for Hyundai: After tallying up the figures through the beginning of December, Hyundai proudly announced that it had cracked the 500,000-sales mark in the U.S. for the first time in its history. Needless to say, this also meant a new annual sales record for the company, which had previously posted a best of 467,009 sales in 2007. In fact, the automaker’s analysts expect customers to snap up 530,000 new Hyundais before the end of the year. “Hyundai’s sales continue to climb as more consumers become aware of our great products, high quality, the industry’s best warranty, and improving dealership experience,” said Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president for national sales, Hyundai Motor America. “We expect our sales momentum to continue as we head into the new year with models like the new Elantra, the first of four planned 40-mpg Hyundai vehicles in our lineup, and our premium luxury sedan, Equus, just now starting to roll into showrooms.” But it’s not just that more customers are “aware” of Hyundai’s top-notch lineup, it’s that they’re also happier with those vehicles than ever before. According to the recent J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Customer Retention Study, Hyundai ranked third out of all brands in terms of customer loyalty, a jump of eight spots as compared to 2009. The automaker now ranks seven positions (12 percent) above the industry average and eight positions (13 percent) ahead of its previous-year performance. According to study participants, the three factors most responsible for this improved performance were “fun to drive,” “fuel efficiency” and “safety.” Of course, it all starts with Hyundai’s stellar dealer experience. In another J.D. Power study, the 2010 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI), the automaker saw the greatest improvement of any mainstream brand, climbing nine full rankings. The SSI measures customer satisfaction throughout the entire new-vehicle sales experience, from working out the sales deal to interacting with the salesperson to the quality of both the vehicle delivery process and the dealership facility as a whole. With award-winning cars and industry-recognized dealers, Hyundai should indeed be set for another record-breaking year in 2011.