- Kia Motors achieves fifth record breaking year in Europe
- 2004 sales 49% higher than 2003, with almost 180,000 vehicles delivered
- December sales jump 91% in Europe to 17,807 for the month
- Kia targets 50% sales growth in Europe during 2005
(SEOUL) January 14, 2004 -- Official year-end figures for European car sales in 2004 confirm that Kia has achieved record-breaking sales in Europe for the fifth year in a row and is once again the fastest growing car company in Europe. Across 20 countries in Europe, total Kia sales last year jumped to 179,657 -- a 49% rise.
The best-selling Kia models were the Picanto (55,742 units), Sorento (31,596), Rio (27,750) and Carnival (26,718) -- all proving popular in very different market segments.
Senior Executive Vice President and COO, Mr.Yong-Hwan Kim, said: “We are delighted with these results and plan to put special emphasis on the European market to help meet the increasing demand of our valued European customers. It is Kia’s plan to have the new Slovakia plant up and running by late 2006. This will be a key asset in our future plans as we will create high quality vehicles specifically designed for the European market at this world class facility.”
Kia’s record-breaking year in Europe reached new highs during the final month of 2004 when sales increased 91% to 17,807 units in December, partly thanks to the Picanto’s monthly sales soaring past the 10,000 landmark figure for the first time.
Jean-Charles Lievens, Vice President of Kia Motors Europe, said: “Last year we announced our intentions to sell 50% more cars during 2004 and deliver a total of 180,000 units in Europe and we have achieved that ambitious goal. With two new models, the Picanto and Cerato, broadening our brand’s ever-stronger appeal to European consumers and an expanding dealer network, we were confident that our goals were both realistic and achievable.”
While European demand for the popular and established Kia models -- Rio, Carens, Carnival and Sorento -- continued to grow strongly during 2004, the launch of two all-new models in very different market segments attracted thousands of new customers to the brand.
Kia’s all-new small car, the Kia Picanto, has taken A-Segment markets by storm in 2004. Sales of this model reached 55,742 by year-end, just eight months after the model’s launch, as customers found the cheeky-looking, fun-to-drive, five-door hatchback and its extremely competitive value-for-money ownership packages irresistible.
The Cerato is Kia’s highly competitive entry into the hugely popular C-Segment of the European market. Demand has soared to achieve a monthly sales rate that is 87% higher than the model it replaced. Part of the Cerato’s increased attraction for customers is the availability of two modern diesel engines, and annual European sales are expected to reach 45,000 units.
Mr. Lievens said: “Having demonstrated that our 50% sales hike ambitions were realistic in 2004, Kia now aims to repeat this remarkable feat in Europe during 2005. We will have four major initiatives on which to build our success -- the broader availability of the Sportage compact SUV, the launch of our new B-Segment hatchback car at the Geneva Show in March, a new Picanto diesel and our new D-Segment sedan at the Frankfurt Show in September.”
The new Sportage offers customers the best benefits of three different vehicle types -- passenger car, SUV and wagon -- in one uniquely attractive model. Consumer demand for the diesel or gasoline powered four-wheel-drive Kia is already booming, with 20,000 orders so far, and Kia anticipates Sportage retail sales of more than 35,000 units in Europe during 2005.
Kia’s all-new B-Segment Rio will be manufactured as both a five-door hatchback and a four-door sedan. Both versions of the 4.2 meter long B-Segment model feature a modern European-style appearance inside and out, plus a longer wheelbase and wider track for a smoother ride and more responsive handling, while the overall height (1470 mm) ensures that the interior offers spacious accommodation. Diesel and gasoline engines will be available from launch.
The D-Segment newcomer will be an all-new replacement model for the popular Magentis (Optima) sedan. A diesel engine will be offered for the first time in this segment by Kia Motors. This attractive, sleek model will mean that Kia has introduced new products -- all with diesel engine options -- in the high-volume A, B, C and D market segments in just 18 months.
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kiamotors.com) -- the fastest growing automaker in the world -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world’s premiere automotive brands. Kia’s 16 manufacturing and assembly operations in 13 countries produce more than 1.1 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 $14 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup.