KIA Motors will launch its new luxury model range, Opirus, in the domestic market in March and plans to export to Europe and the US later this year, the company in a disclosure to the Korea Stock Exchange Wednesday.

European launch for the model is planned for June, with the US in October. It is also reported that Kia aims to sell 35,000 Opirus units in South Korea this year. The 2003 export target for the new model is set at 25,000 units, Kia said.

The new car will have engine displacements from 2.7 to 3.5 litres and a number of safety features including ‘active headrests’ and VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control).

Separately, Kia Motors also reported that it would export 225 taxicabs to Mongolia to help with the Mongolian government’s plan to modernise its taxi fleet. A Kia official said the company might export more taxis to Mongolia as the government plans to replace as many as 3,000 taxis in the country with new ones by 2004.