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Kia boss enjoys rocketing sales

With fleet sales up 209% so far this year, Kia is rapidly becoming a rising star of the business market.

Total sales are up 31% year-to-date, giving Kia a 1.4% overall market share. The company has had a busy year with new launches including the Picanto, Sportage and Cerato.

But it is not just an influx of products that has led to such a large increase in sales, according to UK managing director Paul Williams.

He says: "Sales are up for a number of reasons. The new models have been a catalyst but it’s not only new products. We are more established as a brand, more recognised, we have a bigger dealer network and we are more capable.

"Products such as the Cerato diesel give us a big opportunity in fleet. It is really well priced, has low CO2 figures and dealers also understand the product a lot better."

Historically, Kia has concentrated instead on the sub-25 sector. Williams says: "We haven’t tried to look for big fleet volumes.

"The company car market is more conservative and we have been getting the infrastructure right before we make a big fleet push."

Kia doesn’t have specific fleet people at its dealerships but has launched the Kia Pioneer Programme – training for people working in dealerships who want it. This includes aftersales, general management and corporate customers.

Williams says: "We are not planning to have a big fleet field force. Our dealers know the local market and why do the work which the contract hire and leasing companies know anyway?"

Although contract hire and leasing companies are wanting to do more business with Kia, Williams says he prefers to do business with preferred partners as "there is no point chasing every contract hire company".

He says: "We don’t need to have a big fleet department. We need the right policy and dealer network to support us as the needs of fleet are not that different to retail. The main issues for us are making sure we have the right product, a strong dealer network and establish relationship with people in the market who know it better than we do."

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