Kia plans to take advantage of the exit of other car manufacturers in the minivan segment and to increase its US sales in the sector by more than 25% by 2016. US sales in the minivan segment have dropped to 472,398 units in 2011, about a third of the 1,371,234 vehicles sold in 2000, when the sector was at its peak.
Despite the decline, Kia saw the opportunities.Michael Sprague, Kia Motors America marketing chief, expects the company’s minivan sales to increase over 25% by 2016, at it plans to increase its market share by simply not leaving the segment.
"We are seeing so many exit," said Sprague, referring to recent announcements of some minivan models leaving the segment, according to Autonews. One model is the Dodge Grand Caravan, which will be replaced with a crossover to end duplication with the Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced. Dodge sold 110,862 Grand Caravans in 2011.
Sprague remarked that though a good number of that goes to fleet, there are still a large number of families with more than two children who prefer the functionality of a minivan.
He forecasts that by 2016, the minivan sector will become a 600,000-unit segment. The company is fielding the Sedona in the segment, which is ruled by the Toyota Sienna with 111,429 sales, followed by the Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey and the Town & Country. Kia only sold 24,047 Sedonas in 2011. The country will field the redesigned Sedona, based on the KV7 concept unveiled at the 2011 Detroit auto show, in two years.