Kia Motors to surpass one million unit export mark to Latin America

NEW YORK, USA (AVING) — <Visual News> Kia Motors announced today that it has surpassed the one million unit accumulated export mark to Latin America with its latest shipment of ethanol-gasoline powered Soul Flex vehicles to Brazil.

The feat comes 33 years after Kia made its very first shipment to the continent of 353 Brisa passenger sedans to Costa Rica in 1977.

In the first year of shipments to Latin America, Kia posted exports of 1,050 units. In 1994, the number of accumulated vehicles shipped to the region surpassed 100,000 units while the 500,000 unit mark was reached in 2003, 26 years after its first shipment. The company then managed to double that figure to one million in just seven years. Exports to the region have grown by more than 123 times over a period of 33 years.

Kia Motors celebrated the milestone yesterday with a special commemorative ceremony at its main domestic shipping base in Korea, Pyeongtaek Port, which was attended by key company executives.

Key export countries for Kia Motors in Latin America include Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. Kia is pursuing active marketing initiatives to boost sales performance and improve brand recognition, including test drives for members of the media, experiential marketing and participation in major regional motor shows (Brazil, Chile and Colombia). For example, it held the world premiere of the Soul Flex alternative fuel vehicle at the Sao Paolo Motor Show in Brazil this past October. The company is aggressively targeting the Brazilian market in particular which recorded 24,808 sales units in 2009. That figure is expected to increase by 102% this year to reach around 53,000 units. Meanwhile, Kia has achieved 10% market share (third place among all makers) in the Chilean market, 6% market share (fourth place) in Colombia and 21% market share (first place) in Paraguay.

Based on this momentum, Kia Motors predicts 2010 sales in Latin America will grow by 75% compared to the previous year to post 136,000 units. Regional market share is also forecast to increase from 1.5% to 2.4% over this same period.

To continue to expand sales and market share in the Latin American market, Kia Motors plans to introduce new models best suited to local requirements in a timely manner, continue joint marketing activities with its local country distributors, and strengthen its dealership network by upgrading dealership facilities and performance through the Kia Dealer Excellence Program (K-DEP), which a global initiative aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of Kia dealers worldwide.