SOUTH KOREA: Kia posts downturn outside North America

By just-auto.com editorial team | 3 October 2006

Kia Motors' overseas retail sales of passenger cars and light trucks in September fell 6.5% year on year to 71,646 units, the automaker said.

'Overseas sales' excludes CKD (complete knock down) kit exports assembled at overseas plants including China, Kia noted.

North America posted a year-on-year rise of 6.4% to 27,745 units sold but sales in Europe and the 'general market' (Central & South America, Asia & Pacific, and Middle East & Africa) fell 9.4% to 31,500 units and 21.7% to 12,401, respectively.

However, cumulatively in the first nine months of 2006, Kia's overseas sales have risen 2.4% year-on-year to 634,040 units, with Europe showing the largest gain at 4.3%. North American sales increased 3.5% while general market sales decreased 2.6%.

So far in 2006, Kia's best selling model in export markets has been the C-segment Cerato (Spectra in some markets) with 102,872 units sold.

Kia Motors senior executive vice president and COO Jung-Moon Park said: "Dramatic changes to the economic landscape in the Asia-Pacific region, including free trade agreements and more pronounced oil price hikes than in other parts of the world, have dampened sales in the countries of this region.

"However, we have seen a steady growth in sales so far this year in North America thanks to our rapidly growing brand power in the US and high marks in recent safety tests and quality studies.

"With the highly successful world premiere of our [Ceed] family hatchback last week at the Paris motor show, we anticipate that the recent downturn in European sales will be reversed in the coming months, as European customers will be offered a highly competitive sporty vehicle that will surely contend for C-segment honours," he added.