Kia sales in Europe hit 24,571 units in November, 19% higher than a year previously.

Top selling models last month were the Picanto supermini (7,572 units delivered), Sorento SUV (3,425), Sportage SUV (3,352) and new Rio small car, with 3,201 sales seen boosted by its available new 1.5 diesel engine.

The Picanto is also the top-selling Kia year to date and the maker claims it is second best seller in the A-segment Europe-wide, with 78,942 sold so far this year - an increase of 68% over 2004.

"Kia´s monthly sales performance in Europe - above 24,500 units in November for the first time - once again demonstrates how our products now meet the needs of European consumers.," said Kia Motors Europe senior vice president Jean-Charles Lievens.

Kia Europe plans six new model launches in 2006, he added.

Globally Kia has boosted export retail sales 23.9% to 749,225 units year to date end November. Sales in Europe accounted for 38.9%, with 37.9% going to the USA and 23.3% to other markets.

"The tremendous growth in overseas sales we have experienced so far this year is a testament to the rapidly rising stature of the Kia brand across all global markets," noted Kia Motors Corporation COO Yong-Hwan Kim.

"With a total of 13 all-new models and facelifts to be introduced between 2005 and 2010, we expect our recent successes to continue well into the future."

The C-segment Kia Cerato (Spectra) is the brand´s biggest seller this year globally, with 108,200 sales so far - ahead of the Sorento (108,000), Picanto (107,000) and Sportage (82,000).

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