Kia is targeting further growth this year in Europe, aiming to surpass the 400,000-unit mark, according to a company executive.
2015 represented a significant milestone for Kia in Europe, namely its seventh consecutive year of growth and sales of over 385,000 units, marking an 8.8 percent rise. With new models in its lineup, the Korean automakers expects for 2016 a 9 percent sales boost, to around 420,000 units in the region, with the bigger goal of reaching a volume of 500,000 vehicles by 2018, Michael Cole, Kia Europe’s chief operating officer said. Kia expects the Niro, the brand’s first subcompact crossover with a hybrid powertrain, to attract new buyers in Europe, a region more willing to shift its attention towards environmentally and efficiently friendly cars, as fuel prices are significantly higher than in other major markets around the world.
There will also be new versions of its best-selling Sportage SUV and Optima model, as well as an addition in the form of a plug-in hybrid and a station wagon version for the midsize sedan in Europe, sometime in the fourth quarter. The wagon will play a critical role in attracting new private and corporate buyers to the brand, Cole said. “This is an important conquest product for Kia.” The company forecasts sales of about 30,000 for the Optima Sportswagon in Europe next year, about 70 percent of the model’s total sales.
As for its global green strategy, Kia plans to be the second vehicle manufacturer in the world by the end of the decade in terms of eco-friendly cars present on the market, alongside with its sister-brand Hyundai, as both companies have the ambitious goal of launching together no less than 26 hybrids by 2020.