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.
The new Kia Optima builds on the South Korean carmaker’s philosophy of producing dynamic and high quality vehicles that evoke passion. This is the main reason why the new Optima boasts of high-performance and elegant image, as well as a sleek stance. Its front end is distinguished by Kia's bold signature grille as flanked by projector headlamps.
Its roofline links with the car’s high and pronounced shoulder line flowing to its sculpted flanks and the 2,795-mm extended wheelbase. When viewed from the sides, the new Kia Optima's coupe-like profile is well-distinguished with a sweeping chrome arc flowing from the A- to the C-pillars, a theme that does not only enhance the car’s proportions but also visually further lowers the vehicle.
Meanwhile, the Optima has a muscular stance thanks to its flared wheel arches and sloping rear window. Offered as standard are exterior elements like solar glass, indicators on the wing mirrors and dual exhausts.
Also available – depending on the trim selected by customers, are exterior chrome or body-colored door handles, fog lights, 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 215/55 R17 tires, and heated exterior mirrors. Optima models in higher trim levels feature elements like distinct front grille, rear lip spoiler, sculpted side sills, HID headlights with auto leveling and LED rear lights, as well as aero wiper blades.
These models are also provided with red brake calipers and 18-inch black machined finish alloy wheels wrapped in 225/45 R18 tires. Meanwhile, the interior of the all-new Kia Optima has been luxuriously equipped, with certain focus on the driver.
For instance, drivers would love the cockpit feel of the cabin, thanks to the instrument panel contoured toward them, featuring precise gauges and controls and as complemented by paddle shifters placed behind the steering wheel (featured standard on automatic models sold outside North America).
This configuration allows the new Optima to provide a sporty experience without compromising comfort and spaciousness. In addition, the new Kia Optima comes with a high console with a short shifter and an optional glass panoramic sunroof.