KIA Predicts 26.5 Percent Sales Increase for 2010

South Korea’s second largest automotive manufacturer, KIA Motors, reported today a record profit for Q4 2009, 603.9 billion won or $520 million. Encouraged by the almost double than predicted profit figures, KIA forecasted even greater sales numbers for 2010.

Despite the troublesome year for the automotive sector, business went very well for affordable car makers like KIA. Helped by the consumer demand for cheaper cars, the governments’ incentive schemes for new vehicles and fuel efficiency of small displacement engines, automakers like KIA aim at retaining or even expanding their market share for 2010 by introducing new models with an appealing design.

"Kia will keep growth momentum this year, led by new models, and as its sales outlook in China and the U.S. is bright, especially with troubles of Toyota," said Koo Zayong, co-head of equity research at Nomura International Ltd in Seoul. "A firmer won will not be an issue if it gains at a steady speed," he added, referring to the South Korean currency, the won, which has strengthened in relation with traditional international currencies, like the United States dollar.

KIA aims to raise its global sales forecast for 2010 by 26.5 percent to 1.94 million vehicles. The prognosis takes into account a 36.7 percent raise in China and a predicted 15.6 percent growth in sales volume for the United States market. This year KIA plans to introduce a new-generation Sportage SUV and the all-new Venga minivan in the European market. According to statistics from European automakers association ACEA, via Autonews, the South Korean car maker managed to sell 252,403 units in Europe, achieving a 5.8 percent increase.
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