Kia tops 1M sales in Russia over the past six yearsThe cumulative sales for Kia Motors in Russia have exceeded one million cars since the nation’s second-largest automaker entered the market in 2009, the company said Friday.
Kia said it sold a total of 1,011,873 cars since it started selling cars six years ago through its own sales unit, Kia Motors Russia.
The market share in Russia in 2009 was only 4.8 percent, but that has almost doubled to 9.8 percent as of July this year, thanks to its three best-selling models; the subcompact Rio (418,177 sold), hatchback Cee’d (175,755) and Sportage SUV (167,305).
Kia sold 70,084 cars in 2009 and sold 104,235 units the following year, the first time to sell more than 100,000 units. The figure increased to about 190,000 units in 2013 and 2014.
Kia began importing cars to Russia in 2001 through local dealers. Adding the number sold through local dealers, the cumulative sales in the past 15 years in Russia is 1,293,000 units.
In order to commemorate the milestone of one million sales, the company will give 50,000 rubles ($739) worth of car equipment and winter season tires to 30 new-car buyers in September.
“It is the fourth-largest market for Kia Motors in the world,” said Kim Seong-hwan, president of Kia Motors Russia. “This is a meaningful milestone for the company, selling more than one million units. The overall market condition here has been tough lately, but we will keep making investments in this market to become a brand that surpasses consumers’ expectations.”
The company started a localization process in 2011 by building a production plant in Saint Petersburg to produce Rio, which became the best-selling car in the Russian car market in November last year.
Kia also became the most popular foreign brand in Russia last year with 195,691 cars sold and was recognized as the top company in customer satisfaction by the country’s car industry researcher Autostat. The hatchback Cee’d was named the car of the year this year in the compact car category.
Despite Kia’s landmark sales, overall business in Russia remains a concern. The market share has been increasing for Kia Motors, but the operating profit for the company in the second quarter dropped by about 15 percent from a year ago.
Korean automakers’ car sales in Russia through July was 690 billion won ($585 million), according to the Korean Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, about a 70.1 percent drop from a year ago, mainly due to the slumping economy.
BY KWON SANG-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]