[THE INVESTOR] Kia Motors, the nation’s No. 2 carmaker, on Jan. 26 said it aims to sell 40,000 units of KX7 SUV in China to stay competitive in the world’s largest auto market.
“KX7 SUV, which boasts maximum specs and space among similar car models, will drive Kia’s sales momentum in China,” said Han Chun-soo, Kia’s chief financial officer, during a conference call after the automaker announced the fourth-quarter earnings results. “We have set a target of 40,000 units of KX7 this year, once it is launched in March.”
After the successful debut of the China-specific model KX7, Kia plans to ramp up its SUV lineup to five models by 2018, the automaker said.
Besides SUVs, Kia Motors plans to roll out follow-up models of Forte compact sedan and K2 compact sedan this year, as well as K5 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
In 2015, Kia’s sales grew by 5.5 percent on-year by selling 650,000 units in the country. But the rate is substantially lower than the 14.5 percent leap in the Chinese auto market.
The South Korean automaker projects 6.2 percent growth this year to outpace projected 4.4 percent growth of the Chinese auto market.
During a conference call on Jan. 26, Kia said its fourth-quarter operating profit increased 3.5 percent to 532.2 billion won (US$459.88 million) on-year, on the back of new car launches and popularity of sport utility vehicles.
Revenue gained 1 percent to 12.91 trillion won during the cited period, while net profit declined 25.7 percent to 320 billion won on-year.
As for all of 2016, operating profit increased 4.6 percent to 2.46 trillion won. Annual revenue increased by 6.4 percent to reach 52.71 trillion won, the first time the automaker passed 50 trillion won mark. Net income also gained 4.7 percent to 2.75 trillion won.
In total, Kia sold 3.01 million units in Korea and overseas last year, up 1 percent from the previous year.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)