- 1st half exports rise by 49% to a record 112,787 units
- European share of total Kia exports breaks 30% mark for first time
- A-segment Picanto sales exceed 6,000 units
(SEOUL) August 2, 2004 - Kia Motors Corporation today announced that its exports to Europe have reached an all-time high on the heels of its announcement earlier in the year that Kia will construct its first production plant on European soil. This news comes after the carmaker recently announced all-time records for first half exports and sales in many markets around the world.
Europe’s fastest-growing auto brand exported a total of 112,787 passenger cars and light trucks to the European region during the first half of 2004 - a 49% increase over the 75,475 vehicles sold during same period of last year. The company’s export growth to Europe outpaced its total worldwide rise in exports for the first half (39.3%) by nearly 10 percent.
This stellar performance in Europe is largely attributed to the introduction of two popular new Kia models (the A-segment Picanto and the C-segment Cerato), a rapidly expanding sales network that added 200 new dealers last year, stepped-up local marketing activities, and Kia’s brand enhancement resulting from the announcement that it will build in Slovakia its first-ever European manufacturing facility.
The Picanto, which arrived in showrooms across Europe in April of this year, has experienced booming popularity, with 1,492 units sold in April, 4,470 units in May and 6,071 units in June.
“The overwhelming popularity of Kia’s new Picanto is evidenced by the fact that it is becoming more difficult to manufacture the car quickly enough to meet rising consumer demand,” says Yong-Hwan Kim, Kia Motors’ Senior Executive Vice-President and COO. “We are also confident that the recently launched Kia Cerato Euro 5-door hatchback will also realize similar successful sales.”
Europe’s share of Kia’s worldwide exports has steadily risen in recent years, growing from 20.6% in 2001 to 31.8% in the first half of 2004, eclipsing the 30% mark for the first time ever. Based on the rapid emergence of Europe as a key market, the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group is striving to achieve a long-term export structure consisting of 40% of exports to North America, 40% to Europe and 20% to the remaining regions of the world.
Kia’s sales momentum in Europe started to accelerate with the successful launch of the Sorento SUV, Carnival MPV and Carens mini-MPV in 2002, as well as the luxury class Opirus in 2003. With the recent additions of the European-styled Picanto and Cerato, Kia now offers European customers a full product line-up to choose from. And the company plans aggressive marketing of its soon-to-be-launched Sportage compact-SUV.
Kia’s 2004 sales target for the European region is 254,840 vehicles.
Founded in 1944 and now celebrating its 60th anniversary, Kia Motors Corporation (www.kiamotors.com) is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of automobiles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia is among the world’s fastest growing automobile companies and aims to be a top five global automaker by 2010. Kia’s 15 manufacturing and assembly operations in 12 countries make more than a million vehicles a year that are sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 190 countries. Kia today has 30,000 employees and annual revenues of $12 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an international sponsor of the Davis Cup.