Hyundai Motor America says 11% of its record 42,656 deliveries in October were fleet sales, down from the 12.3% fleet mix in September and a 46% reduction from year-ago.

HMA CEO John Krafcik told Ward’s last month Hyundai was working to whittle down its fleet sales and was going to be more public about what percentage of its total monthly results were due to fleets, which include daily rentals.

Hyundai says its retail sales last month surged 71%, compared with year-ago.

Just two months shy of year-end, the auto maker already has bested its 2009 total of 435,064 vehicles by selling 452,703 through October.

HMA already has pegged 2010 as the year sales finally hits the half-million-sales mark. The company had hoped to reach that level in 2008, but the recession and other factors lowered its trajectory.

At the model level, the Sonata midsize sedan continued its hot streak last month, with deliveries jumping 133% ahead of year-ago. Through October, Hyundai had sold 166,628 units.

The Sonata in October again outsold the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima at retail, Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president-sales for HMA, says in a statement.

Also posting gains on prior-year were Hyundai’s Accent subcompact, Elantra compact, Tucson cross/utility vehicle and Genesis near-luxury sedan and performance coupe.

The Tucson, redesigned for ’10, boosted deliveries a whopping 273% in October compared with like-2009, Ward’s data shows.

"We were very encouraged by what appeared to be a general strengthening of the overall sales environment in October,” Zuchowski says.

“As availability improves for (the) Tucson and Santa Fe (CUVs), coupled with the launch of turbo and hybrid versions of (the) Sonata, we expect to continue to set sales records, elevate brand awareness and drive market share growth for the remainder of the fourth quarter.”

Zuchowski says Hyundai expects to sustain October’s momentum over the next few months with the launch of the Equus flagship near-luxury sedan and next-generation Elantra.

Less impressive in October were the Santa Fe CUV and Azera large car, the latter continuing to sell in very small volumes, with just 202 deliveries last month.

But Hyundai intends to keep the low-selling Azera in its lineup and is planning a next- generation model, Krafcik told Ward’s last month, noting there still are customers who prefer a larger car that is not rear-wheel-drive.

Sister-brand Kia also saw a record October, selling 31,199 vehicles for a 38.7% gain on like-2009. The auto maker says last month marked its seventh record sales month in the year.

The Sorento CUV is on the verge of hitting the 100,000-unit mark before the year is up, selling 10,611 units in October and bringing its 10-month tally to 89,561.

Kia’s other CUV, the smaller and new-for-’11 Sportage, also saw deliveries climb in October, rising 142.3% as units arrive at dealers.

The quirky Soul compact still sizzles more than a year after its debut, with October sales posting a 208.5% gain over year-ago for a total 55,161 units through the first 10 months. The Forte compact climbed 19.7%.

Despite a prediction in September by Tom Loveless, Kia’s U.S. sales chief, that the Soul may usurp the Forte, the Forte still holds its lead, albeit by a smaller margin, with 57,483 units moved through October.

Kia’s soon-to-depart Borrego SUV and Rondo multipurpose vehicle both saw sales slide, down 77.9% and 91.3%, respectively, Ward’s data shows.

The Optima midsize sedan and Rio subcompact also suffered losses greater than 45%. A next-generation Optima goes on sale this month.