Kia has very ambitious plans for the European market

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 27, 2011

Kia Motors Corp. has ambitious growth targets for Europe. Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee, the company's vice president, told Automotive News Europe in an interview that Kia will sell around 290,000 units this year in western Europe. During the past year, Kia's sales in western Europe reached 263,000 vehicles. In greater Europe -- including Russia and the former Soviet republics -- the company is targeting sales of 470,000 in this year, as disclosed by Lee.

He added that next year, they will have the "first full year with the Rio and Picanto and half a year with the Cee'd," adding that to sell more than 500,000 units in Europe " should be no problem at all."

However, Lee recognizes that Kia could not generate 1 million yearly sales in western Europe soon, adding that it could achieve it maybe together with Hyundai in 2014, but not alone." He also said that "it depends on the progress and we are being cautious." Kia doesn't have plans to build a second assembly facility in Europe.

According to Lee, their priority is to fully use the current capacity first, "partly also due to the changing market conditions." He also further revealed that as of March to April 2012, they will add a third shift to their facility in Zilina, Slovakia, bringing the company to an annual capacity of at least 300,000. "Beyond that, we remain cautious," Lee said further. Around 60 percent of the new vehicles that Kia sold in Europe last year were manufactured locally. 

Topics: kia, europe

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