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Kia hopeful on Lookers showrooms

Kia Motors (UK) hopes in 2006 to add Lookers to the list of leading groups representing the brand, but initial talks have so far failed to reach agreement on locations.

Pendragon, Reg Vardy and Arnold Clark have added Kia to their portfolios as the manufacturer’s products continue to improve. Kia is also understood to have had talks with Inchcape Retail.

There is an increasing interest in value brands among larger dealer groups as retail buyers become aware of the narrowing gap in quality and reliability between prestige and volume manufacturers.

A Kia Motors (UK) spokesman says: “We are not talking to Lookers at the moment, though there were discussions about some open points earlier.

“Those points were not quite right for them but we would like Lookers as a partner if something can be worked out in the future.”

Ken Surgenor, Lookers chief executive, says: “There is nothing happening at the moment between Kia and ourselves. We are always talking to manufacturers and are interested to look at any opportunities.”

In September, Kia took a 1.88% market share, led by sales of Picanto, with 7,844 registrations (more than 16% up year-on-year). Total sales for the first nine months are 31,714 (nearly 25% higher than 2004). The company is confident of achieving 47,500 sales this year, up 7,500 on its original target for 2005.

“With a target of 100,000 units in 2010 we can’t afford to slow down,” says Kia Motors (UK) managing director Paul Williams.

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