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.

Kia Motors Corp. has unveiled to the global public its new Kia Optima at the 2010 New York International Auto Show, providing a preview of the looks and specs of this new D-segment saloon when it arrives in Kia showrooms across the United Kingdom in 2011. In essence, the new Optima is a continuation of the brand’s design-led transformation, while at the same time is an embodiment of Kia’s new stunning design language, which is highlighted by its dynamic and streamlined profile.

To be dubbed as 'K5' in South Korea, the new Kia Optima is a model replacement for the Magentis but is longer, wider and lower. As designed by Kia's studios in Frankfurt, Germany and in Irvine, California, the Kia Optima is underpinned by an all-new midsize platform that allowed it to stand out from its rivals with its distinctive dimensions and proportions. Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer at Kia Motors, called the Kia Optima as a new strand in Kia's evolving design DNA, featuring a harmonious combination of simple, fluid lines and basic, elegant shapes.

He noted every inch of the new Kia Optima – including its sleek greenhouse, flared wheel arches and sweeping chrome accent running through the C-pillars. The smooth-flowing lines of the new Optima appropriately indicate not only grace and style, but also European luxury. Not only that, the new Kia Optima is provided with new powertrains that are not only dynamic and powerful but are also very fuel efficient.

These characteristics are thanks to the fact that these powerplants employ an array of engine management systems like direct injection, turbo charging and multi-point injection – all helping increase their performance without making these engines consume more fuel. Kia is planning to introduce a hybrid version of the Optima in North America in 2011.

Topics: kia, europe

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