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New models give Kia confidence for 2011

Products designed to change the way people feel about Korean cars are set to help Kia steer clear of the softer trading conditions predicted for next year. Kia Optima 2011

The new Sportage, Rio and Optima models should allow the burgeoning brand to maintain annual volume at 55,000 units despite the economic uncertainty, believes Kia Motors UK marketing programmes chief Ian Matthews.

“Some of our retail shares this year have been between 4% and 5%, so our aspirations to become a mainstream brand and reach volume levels of around 100,000 units in due course are still on track."

Speaking as the company launched the Sportage, he said: “We are expecting 7,000 sales in its first full year in the showrooms – and early signs of very high demand for the car and its Hyundai equivalent, the iX35, indicate this might be a conservative estimate. The segment is clearly growing.

“But we are also quietly confident that the next Rio will have a similar reception. The current car’s annual volume of 5,000 is disappointing in a segment that accounts for 30% of the market and we think the next version will grow that total by a considerable margin,” he said.

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