The economic outlook is uncertain but this hasn’t dissuaded Kia from aiming to increase sales in Europe and the U.S. by double-digit percentages this year. Kia also aims to achieve a 9.5% increase in global sales. Kia revealed this target even as the automaker posted a 3.5% drop in the net profit for the October-December quarter to 790.4 billion won ($704.52 million) compared to the previous year.
This is significantly lower than a consensus forecast of 1.1 trillion won. Kia said that for 2011, it hopes to raise European sales by 22.8% to 356,000 vehicles and to U.S. sales by 10% to 534,000 vehicles. Kia and Hyundai are both aiming to aggressively raise sales in Europe this year as local automakers suffer due to the debt crisis in the region.
ACEA said that in 2011, Kia’s sales in the EU and EFTA countries rose by 11.8% to 293,960. Together with Hyundai, this gave Kia a 5.2% market share in the region. Industry executives said during the Detroit Auto Show that they expect the auto demand in the U.S. to steadily recover. However, they weren’t as upbeat about the market in Europe, which is predicted to shrink by about 5% for a fifth straight annual decline.
When combined, Hyundai and Kia rank fifth in global car sales. They predict that the surge of sales in the U.S. and worldwide will soften this year. Kia said that it sought to increase worldwide sales to 2.71 million vehicles this year, from 2.48 million last year – standing for a 9.5% growth. This is half that of last year. In 2011, Kia posted a 36% growth in U.S. sales.
According to Kia's Chief Financial Officer Lee Jae-rok, the company planned to launch a full revamp of its Cee'd small car in Europe this year. A new premium large K9 sedan in South Korea is also expected in the second quarter. Lee said that the K9 will be priced between (Hyundai's) Genesis and Equus and that the monthly sales target of the K9 in the domestic market is more than 2,000 units.