Kia Motors Europe is cautiously optimistic that it can break through the 500,000 sales barrier this year with numbers already running 6% ahead of last year which ended with 472,000 sales.

COO Michael Cole said: “We are certainly looking at a 10th straight year of growth and we now have a very strong product line up covering the  A, B, C and D segments as well as all the sub segments within that. To add to that we now have the Stinger as a halo product.

“I really think that the new Ceed will overtake Sportage as our top seller in Europe”

“This car has been getting rave reviews and the big point for us is that people are saying it’s a great car, not just a great Kia. We also have an important launch coming up with the third generation Ceed. This sees a big leap in terms of the quality of materials and driving performance. I really think that the new Ceed will overtake Sportage as our top seller in Europe.”

The UK remains Kia’s top European market with sales there closing in on 100,000 annually but Cole said there remains a lot of work to do in France and Germany where market share is hovering around or just under 2%.

He added: “Those two markets are particularly tough because of the strength of the domestic brands but we are seeing a strong performance in Spain and Italy.”

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