Hyundai Motor Group, which includes the Hyundai and Kia brands, is now the top Asian automaker in Europe in terms of sales.

Hyundai Motor Group has sold more cars in Europe so far this year than Toyota Motor Corp. and has taken the lead as the top Asia brand on the continent.

Sibling brands Hyundai and Kia sold 521,369 units for the first 10 months of 2010, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association. Toyota and Lexus brand sales were 511,754, down 17 percent over the same period last year.

Hyundai Motor Group has seen its market share rise in Europe to 4.5 percent for the period compared to last year, while Toyota lost share, going from 5 percent to 4.4.

The Korean automaker has done well in the slumping European market, keeping demand going with models such as the Hyundai ix20, the i30, ix35 SUV and the Kia Cee'd hatchback.

The European market is down 5 percent for the first 10 months of 2010 to 11.6 million unit sales. But it's effect has been uneven, for example, Nissan brand sales rose 13 percent in that period.

The Hyundai brand has also seen its sales in the United States rise by a healthy 21 percent so far this year too.

Hyundai/Kia surpass Toyota Motor Corp. sales in Europe