In 2011 Kia managed to sell in the U.S. 84,590 Optimas, three times more than the previous year. The expanded capacity in the U.S. made the company decide to boost Optima production by 60,000 in 2012.
Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, which assembles the Optima and Sorento at the West Point, Ga., already added 60,000 units of capacity in 2011. Although the two vehicles accounted for 44% of Kia’s sales in 2011, the company had difficulties in keeping up with the demand, which outpaced the supply.
“We expect those [Kia] vehicles to account for about 50 percent of our volume here in the U.S. in 2012,” Tom Loveless, Kia Motors America’s vice president of sales, said at the Chicago Auto Show.
2011 was Optima’s full year of production, and Loveless expects that in 2012 Optima to be Kia’s no. 1 selling vehicle in the States, outdoing the Sorento which has been top-seller for the last two years. With the boost in production, the three Kia vehicles (Optima, Sorento and Soul) are expected to reach more than 100,000 U.S. sales each this year. 130,235 Sorentos and 102,267 Souls were sold last year in the U.S.