KIA Motors’ overseas retail sales of passenger cars and light trucks in August 2005 were up 25.3% year on year to 66,537 units.

From January to the end of August, overseas retail sales were 543,210 units, with 576,372 vehicles exported, a year-on-year increase of 29.1% for sales and 27.7% for exports.

Analysed by region, August sales grew 49.3% year on year in Europe, 18.0% in ‘general’ markets and 13.9% in North America.

Kia attributes the strong sales performance overseas to the new Sportage SUV as well as continued “robust” sales of the C-segment Cerato (aka Spectra), Sorento SUV, and A-segment Picanto.

The automaker claims sales of the recently launched redesigned B-segment Rio sedan and hatchback have also enjoyed a strong start while the soon-to-be-redesigned Carnival (Sedona) MPV/minivan has also continued sell steadily worldwide.

Kia will launch its redesigned Magentis (Optima) sedan at this month’s Frankfurt motor show. It shares its platform with parent company Hyundai Motor’s recently launched Sonata.

“We are confident that this new entry will transform Kia’s fortunes in the D-segment to become [our] flagship mid-size executive car,” a spokesman said.