Kia made the most of the New Year celebrations as 2004 ended with record December results of 2,708 units, a 114% increase on the same month in 2003; and laid claim to its sixth consecutive record-breaking year with 33,419 sales and a 1.30 per cent market share, putting it ahead of established brands such as Seat.
Sales were up 58% year-on-year; the Sedona claimed a 24% market share (Retail) and retained its title as the nation’s favourite MPV; and the Picanto became Kia’s best seller with 8,879 units and finished a respectable fourth position in the A-segment with a 7.1% market share and only eight months of sales under its belt.
Kia Motors (UK) Limited’s other top sellers included: Rio (7,355), Sedona (7,326), Sorento (4,778) and Carens (3,136).
Paul Williams, Managing Director said: "In what has been a strong year for sales generally, Kia has out-performed the market and continued to shake-up the established order thanks to exciting new products, improved quality and design and outstanding value.
"Throughout 2004 we saw strong performances from every one of our products - both new and established - as well as major efforts from our expanding dealer network, now up to 155 across the country. We are determined to continue this performance as the UK’s fastest growing volume market brand and we are looking for another near-50 per cent increase to 45,000 sales in 2005.
"With an all-new car to come in the important supermini segment plus diesel additions to the amazing new Sportage and the Cerato family-car ranges as well as a full year of sales for Picanto we expect to maintain our charge up the sales charts."
Additionally, Kia in the UK and Europe took other steps to maintain the brand’s dramatic growth.
Kia Motors Europe broke ground and started construction on the company’s first European manufacturing plant in Zilina, Slovakia that will build high-volume models from 2006.
Kia Motors (UK) Ltd grabbed attention with an innovative and award winning new advertising and marketing strategy, entitled "Think About It…" featuring a ground-breaking new animated style as well as introducing £1 deposit purchasing and free drive-away insurance for all customers.
December provided a final boost to sales as Kia achieved a 1.88% market share with over 2,000 units, outselling rivals Mazda, Rover, and Seat. The Picanto knocked the Ford Ka off the number one spot for the first time with a 32% market share.
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