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The Japanese auto industry has always had a well-defined hierarchy, with Toyota, Honda and Nissan locked in a firmly established pecking order. But Toyota's recent streak of quality problems has caused it to shed sales, causing a disruption in the marketplace.

Customers fleeing Toyota are helping to propel the sales numbers of both Nissan and Hyundai, with the two companies neck and neck in terms of vehicle sales, and the possibility of overtaking #2 Asian car maker Honda on the horizon.

Year-to-date, Nissan has sold 522,669 units (including Infiniti cars) while Hyundai has sold 515,376 (including Kia vehicles). While the two companies have a serious fight ahead of them, auto analysts predict that Hyundai, with its well-received ad campaigns focusing on value and their strong product lineup, will overtake Nissan by the end of 2011. That's not to say Hyundai should get complacent; Nissan is planning an onslaught of products in the next 24 months, including the Leaf electric car, a new Quest minivan and six other unnamed vehicles.

More: Hyundai And Nissan Emerge as Rivals to Overtake Honda in U.S. Sales Race on
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