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April 8, 2005

SOUTH KOREA: Kia aims high with new Pride

Kia Motors is targeting annual sales of 150,000 units - 130,000 overseas and 20,000 at home - of the Pride compact which reached showrooms yesterday.

Kia Motors is targeting annual sales of 150,000 units – 130,000 overseas and 20,000 at home – of the Pride compact which reached showrooms yesterday.

With the target, the nation’s second-largest automaker hopes to take more than a 30% share of the segment as the domestic demand for compacts this year is estimated to surpass 60,000 units, the Korea Herald said.

Kia invested 210 billion won during the past 26 months to reintroduce the model and hopes to sell 110,000 cars in the remaining months of this year.

The Pride was Kia’s flagship model which sold more than 1.26 million units during 14 years from February 1987 to 2000. Of those, 700,000 were sold at home and 560,000 were exported, excluding CKD kits. Some were sold badged as Ford’s Festiva in Asia-Pacific markets.

“The new Pride has upgraded the standards of a compact. We plan to make it a next-generation ‘world car’ that revives the old Pride’s legacy,” Kim Ik-hwan, Kia’s chief executive told the newspaper.

The compact, exported as the Rio, was praised by auto experts at the Detroit Motor Show in January and the Geneva Motor Show in February – it will be shipped to the United States and, in Europe, will compete against the Peugeot 206, Renault Clio, Fiat Punto and Volkswagen Polo, according to Kia.

The Korea Herald said two versions of the Pride with engine displacements of 1.4 and 1.6 litres were released yesterday. The latter’s engine displacement is at least 0.1 liter bigger than other compacts, which fall between 0.8 liter and 1.5 liters, boasting a relatively high maximum output of 112 horsepower.

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