Kia has announced that it plans to grow sales in Russia by almost 15% this year, despite the market slowdown.

The company said in a statement that it aims to sell 101,200 vehicles in Russia this year (it made 88,300 sales in 2008).

It is also establishing a sales organisation in Russia that will begin operations at the end of February. Kia's new Russian branch will be its second largest overseas operation - after the US.

The company said that it plans to begin introducing new models including the Forte and the crossover utility vehicle Soul to its Russian lineup in March. At present the company markets four models - Sorento, Cerato, cee'd and the Morning.