Kia will begin European sales of its Picanto minicar in April, and expects to sell 66,200 this year, Automotive News Europe said.

The model, unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show last September, will be offered with 1.0- and 1.1-litre petrol engines while a three-cylinder 1.1-litre turbodiesel will follow in the middle of 2005.

The Picanto is a key part of Kia’s sales strategy in Europe. Kia, Europe’s fastest growing brand, aims to sell 300,000 cars in Europe in 2005. It sold 149,021 cars in Europe last year and its 2004 target is 205,300.

The Picanto is the latest of 16 new models that Hyundai Motor subsidiary Kia will introduce by late 2006.