Sales of Kia in the United States are expected to exceed 500,000 vehicles in 2012, Seoul-based Vice Chairman Hank Lee disclosed in an interview. He added that the dealer network will expand from 760 to 800 stores in 2012. He further revealed that Kia anticipates selling 470,000 new automobiles this year, an increase from 356,268 units in 2010.
Through September, U.S. sales increased 37 percent to 367,405 units, outperforming the company's whole-year sales record established last year. Moreover, Lee stated Kia is bringing in new dealers in the U.S., while replacing stores with poor performance as well as bettering current dealerships.
However, the company's primary target is strengthening dealers in 20 core markets in the U.S. Lee added that they are attracting "good candidates" willing to invest in the brand. "The number is not as important as the quality," he stated. Lee revealed that in the first six months of 2011, they replaced around 50 to 60 "small, old, low-performing dealers" with "interesting new ones" willing to invest into the brand.
Meanwhile, in another interview, Tom Loveless, who serves as Kia Motors America's vice president of sales, stated that Kia will add points when opportunities are available in markets where the brand is underrepresented.
However, he added that the company is not essentially aiming for 800 dealerships, and that he would be "surprised" if it ends up to be 800. He clarified that Kia's principal target is to enhance the performance of its current dealers, adding that they are "really trying to concentrate on working" with the current network available.