Kia’s Carnival/Sedona minivan has gone on sale in China with the aim of taking 19% market share in its sector in its first full year on sale.

The vehicles for the Chinese market are being produced at a joint venture plant in Yancheng City in Jiangsu Province in two versions with a third version due to be added in 2005.

Kia expects to sell 12,000 units this year, capturing 10% of the Chinese MPV market, and has its sights set on sales of 30,000 units in 2005, or 19% of a sector that is forecast to grow to 160,000 units in 2005.

China’s rapidly expanding market for minivans is expected to reach 290,000 units in sales in 2004, almost triple the 100,000 vehicles sold just two years ago.

The introduction of the Carnival comes on the heels of the huge success of Kia’s TianLiMa compact sedan. With the minivan’s arrival, Kia aims to sell 80,000 cars in China during 2004, a 57% increase from last year.

Kia first began operations in China in 1996, selling the Pride sub-compact. In 2002, it partnered with the Dongfeng Automotive Group and subsequently established Dongfeng Yueda Kia Motors Co., Ltd. in March 2002.