US motorists have rekindled their affection wit pickup trucks since the country emerged healthier from the latest financial crisis, but one automaker has managed to continue its ascension without even having one in its model lineup.
Even as truck sales continue to expand at a dramatic pace and Japanese brands have also revived their laggard sales, South Korea’s Kia has managed to post positive sales results without even offering a pickup truck in its showrooms. Michael Sprague, Kia Motor Sales chief operating officer, comments the brand has managed to overcome the challenges ahead and continue with its sales push. Sprague, who recently had the automaker roll out the 2016 Kia Optima midsize sedan, one of its most important models, said Kia managed to see deliveries jump 22 percent in September and overall soared 7 percent during the first nine months of the year. Following the best September month in the unit’s history, the company now also expects a new record to be tallied for the entire year. “We still consider ourselves a challenger brand,” comments the top executive, even though Kia is today US market’s eighth top selling brand following Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, Jeep and its Hyundai brethren.
For example, back in 2001 the make was last in J.D. Power’s influential Initial Quality Survey – but this year the brand was second only to Germany’s luxury sports car maker Porsche. The automaker is also a long running partner of the Super Bowl – seven consecutive years. And the company will also supplement its US-bound production by opening a new factory in Monterrey, Mexico next year.