Kia Motors may follow parent Hyundai into assembling vehicles in North America after 2005 and expand its product line with a pickup truck, a company executive told the Detroit News.

Myung-hun (Mark) Juhn, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of Kia’s international business division, told the Detroit News the company would have to consider a US plant once its annual sales volume there reached 300,000.

Kia sold 223,721 vehicles in 2001 and 144,276 vehicles in the US to the end of July, the Detroit News said.

With help from the new Sorento sport utility vehicle launching next month, Kia is on track to sell more than 260,000 units this year in the United States, the Detroit News said.

Juhn, a one-time president of Hyundai Motor America, told the newspaper that Kia might use the chassis of the Sorento as the basis of a new truck.

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“Other markets are asking us to produce pickup trucks, but the volume doesn’t seem to be enough to reach an economical scale,” he told the Detroit News.

“Since we have the Sorento, which is body-on-frame type, there is more chance for us to produce a pickup in the near future, but it has to be decided based on global volume, Juhn added, according to the Detroit News.

Juhn said that Kia would be in a better position to study the pickup project in about a year, the newspaper reported.