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Kia raises sales targets as network strengthens

Kia Motors UK has increased its sales targets from 18,000 to 20,000 units a year as it works towards creating a network of 150 dealers by the end of 2004. Currently, the distributor for the Korean marque has 111 sites operating in Britain, six close to start-up and another 11 going through the manufacturer's application programme.

So far 25 new Kia retailers have been appointed this year. The latest to come on board are Foxfield Kia in Wigan, Hidsons Kia in Gillingham, Carmarthen Kia in South Wales and Phoenix in Glasgow.

Kia recorded 2478 sales last month, giving it 1.01 per cent of the market. Last year's June figure was 767 units and a 0.37 per cent market share. Sales for the first six months of the year were 10,316 or 0.77 per cent market share – ahead of ChryslerJeep (9834, 0.73 per cent), Mitsubishi (8868, 0.66 per cent) and Saab (8572, 0.64 per cent).

Paul Williams, Kia UK managing director, says the company will have 130 dealers by December and adds: “We want to increase volume without damaging our dealers' return on turnover.”

He claims those in the network have seen their average return on turnover increase from 2.4 per cent for January to the end of March, 2002 to three per cent for the year to March 2003. Returns for the top 25 Kia retailers over the same period are up from 5.4 to 5.8 per cent. The manufacturer has ambitious plans to achieve sales of 50,000 units in the UK by 2006 driven by a raft of new models launched next year. These include a new A-sector mini car, replacements for the Shuma and the Sportage models, as well as an all- new panel van.

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