Kia bucks trend and records sales increase

Kia’s new-look model range is catching on with buyers around the world, with sales increasing in a number of markets.

Against the general trend, Kia Motors has recorded an 11.5% increase in international sales in May and for the year to date its sales are now up by 0.5%. Almost every other car maker is continuing to lose sales as economic woes persist.

The success comes on the back of the introduction of new designs, led by the Kia Soul cross-over and Kia Cerato sedan. The new Cerato is only just going on sale now in the world’s largest market, the US.

By region, Kia posted a year-on-year sales increase of 51.3% in China, 44% increase in Korea and a 13% increase in general markets during May. Year-to-date Kia is already ahead of 2008 with 590,934 sales international, led by general markets (up 17%) and the Korean home market (up 14.2%).

Sales of the new Cerato have only just started in most countries, but it is already Kia’s best-selling model for 2009 with 95,883 units, followed by the B-segment Rio. And while 4×4 sales have dropped significantly for other manufacturers, Kia’s recreational vehicles, which include the Sportage and Sorento, achieved an increase of 24.6% during May.

Here in NZ, the new Soul and Cerato are also just starting to make their presence felt, helping Kia to achieve a market share in excess of 4% in May, it’s best result ever. The Kia Carnival also continues to be the best-selling MPV in New Zealand.

Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, says the new designs created by chief designer Peter Screyer are definitely paying off, with more buyers now expressing interest in purchasing a Kia.

“We are seeing more people coming into Kia showrooms to see our new models and it is only going to get better from here as Kia continues to introduce a wave of new cars in the coming months,” he says.

Meanwhile, the growing strength of Kia has seen a number of Saab dealers in Sweden approach the Korean company to add the brand to their showrooms. Three Swedish Saab dealers have already signed up and a number of others are expected to follow.

And in the UK, Kia dealers have been surprised by the type of cars that British motorists are wishing to trade on brand new Kias under the Government’s Cash For Clunkers scheme. They report that some Mercedes, Porsche and Jaguar owners have been scrapping their older motors in favour of the Kia Picanto mini car, with their old cars being crushed.

Collectively, British Kia dealers have traded two Porsches, five Jaguars, 53 Mercedes and 30 BMWs since the Government began its scrappage scheme in May. Under the scheme owners get £2,000 (NZ$5200) for their old cars, with 75% of motorists opting for the Picanto, which cost them just £4,195 (NZ$10,900) including the grant.

One Kia dealer refused to accept a classic Singer under the scheme because he didn’t want to see it destroyed, but he helped the lady owner sell it so she could buy a new Picanto.

We recently road tested the new Kia Soul. Click here to check out the review.

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