Kia Motors, on Wednesday said it plans to raise its local production level by 24 percent to meet rising demand for its Sportage and Soul SUVs.

The second-biggest carmaker in South Korea would consider investing $171 million to boost its annual capacity to 620,000 vehicles from the current 500,000 units.

Reuters reports that Kia’s factory in the southeastern city of Gwangju is one of its four auto plants in South Korea, and accounts for about 18 percent of Kia’s global production capacity.

In South Korea, the economy expanded more than the central bank initially estimated in the third quarter. Bloomberg reports that GDP grew 0.8 percent over the three months through September from the second quarter.

Kia Motors has reported global sales (export sales, domestic sales and sales from overseas plants) of 220,037 units in November, 22.8% ahead of the 179,200 reported in November 2010.

Yonhap reported that sales by South Korea’s top automaker Hyundai Motor Co and four other industry players rose by 12.5% YoY in November 2011 mainly due to solid export gains that offset poor demand at home.


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