Tag Archive | "Kia Motors Corp."

Auto Industry Sees Strong September Sales

This week, all of the major manufacturers in the auto industry released their sales numbers for September. And across the board, the news is very good. Across the board were reports of increased vehicle sales, not just over last year’s numbers but in many cases the best numbers these companies have seen since in the last decade. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Ford Motor Co., for example, reported that overall, it’s small car sales were up 73 percent year-over-year to 24,628 units, the best numbers it has had since 2002. The company’s F-Series trucks continued a 14-year consecutive growth streak, with an increase of one percent over last year to sell 55,077 units. “As more buyers look for new vehicles across the country, Ford is ready with our strongest lineup ever of fuel-efficient cars, utilities and full-size pickups,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Fuel economy remains one of the most important features customers want most today, and Ford is answering the call with five vehicles that deliver 40 mpg or better – with another three on the way by year-end.”

Toyota was another winner, with sales results of 171,910 units, an increase of 41.5 percent compared to the same period last year on both a daily selling rate (DSR) and a raw volume basis. The Toyota Division posted September total sales of 151,524 units, an increase of 42.3 percent on a DSR basis from September 2011. The Lexus Division reported total sales of 20,386 units in September 2012, up 36.0 percent from September 2011 on both a DSR and raw volume basis compared to the same period last year. “The auto industry had another very encouraging month in September,” said Bill Fay, Toyota group vice president and general manager. “Our dealers got off to a great start over Labor Day weekend and that momentum carried through the rest of the month, as Camry continued to stretch its lead as the most popular car in America.”

Hyundai Motor America wrapped up the quarter setting multiple sales records, including 60,025 sales for the month of September. Sales were up 15 percent for the month, and up 10 percent for the first nine months of the year versus 2011. The Azera and the Elantra families saw sales gains of 1028 percent and 27 percent, respectively, over last September. The Tucson saw sales gains of 23 percent over the same period a year ago, and Veloster, the three-door coupe, had a sales gain of 262 percent. Hyundai fleet sales and mix remained low at a nine percent mix for the month and year-to-date, among the lowest in the industry. “September was a very encouraging month for Hyundai as we avoided the traditional back-to-school sales decline and began to reap the benefits of a materially improved inventory situation on our core vehicle lines,” said Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president of sales. “We’re well positioned for a strong fourth quarter as sales of the newly launched Elantra GT, Elantra Coupe, the all-new Azera and all-new Santa Fe continued at a brisk pace. Our fourth quarter production plan is up nearly 20 percent on a year-over-year basis.”

The BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported September sales of 26,660 vehicles, an increase of 3.5 percent from the 25,749 vehicles sold in the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, BMW Group is up 7.1 percent on sales of 234,928 in the first nine months of 2012 compared to 219,314 in the same period in 2011. “The economic indicators and consumer confidence are showing improvement and the traffic in our showrooms is further encouraging our optimism for the fourth quarter of the year as the BMW new model ramp-up continues,” said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America, LLC. “The X1 in its first full month is largely sold out and MINI set another sales record; both are strong indicators of what’s to come.”

Mercedes-Benz USA reported record sales of 23,156 for its Mercedes-Benz models, up 7 percent, delivering a record year-to-date total of 191,618 new vehicles to customers, up 12.7 percent. Combined sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, smart and Sprinter for the month totaled 25,980, up 8.7 percent, bringing the year-to-date total to 214,331 up 16.7 percent. “We’re on our way to a record year with extraordinary momentum and demand outpacing supply,” stated Steve Cannon, president and CEO, MBUSA.

Kia Motors America (KMA) achieved a record third quarter and the 25th consecutive month of record sales, reaching 48,105 units, a 35.1 percent increase over the same period in 2011. The Optima midsize sedan sold 14,304 units and the Sorento CUV enjoyed sales of 10,066 vehicles. The Soul accounted for 9,467 units sold, bolstered by the recent launch of the “Bringing Down the House” advertising campaign featuring the music-loving Kia hamsters. “Kia’s product-led transformation – together with our successful marketing – have elevated Kia’s reputation beyond our bedrock commitment to value,” said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of KMA and KMMG. “At Kia, we work to understand the needs and expectations of our customers and work to find new ways to enrich their lives, providing the Kia brand with powerful potential as more new products and technologies are set to arrive in the next 12 months.”

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Kia Posts 3.5 Percent Net Slide, Predicts Slowing Sales

SEOUL—Kia Motors Corp. said Friday it expects sales growth to decelerate this year due to tougher competition overseas and weak domestic sales after it posted a 3.5 percent decline in fourth-quarter net profit.

The South Korea auto maker, in which Hyundai Motor Co. owns a nearly 40 percent stake, expects overall sales for 2012 to grow 9.5 percent to 2.71 million units, slowing from a 19 percent rise to 2.48 million units last year, reported The Wall Street Journal.

In overseas markets, where Kia sells eight out of 10 cars, Kia expects stiffer competition from rivals General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., a company official said.

On the home front, demand is likely to remain weak, with more local customers increasingly showing a preference for imported cars due to lower prices, the official added. Kia continues to face headwinds in the domestic market, as sales are forecast to increase at a sluggish 1.7 percent pace to 500,000 units this year. In the fourth quarter, Kia said sales in South Korea fell 5.5 percent to 125,120 units.

Despite the lower sales forecast, Kia has set bold targets for its key U.S. and European markets, where Kia has increased its market share in recent years. Kia is aiming for 10 percent growth in sales to 534,000 units in the U.S. and a 23 percent increase to 356,000 units in European markets.

Kia reported consolidated net profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 fell 3.5 percent to 790.35 billion won ($702 million). Operating profit rose 17 percent to 825.79 billion won during the quarter, while sales were up 8.7 percent to 10.963 trillion won.

For 2011, net profit rose 30 percent to 3.519 trillion won while sales gained 21 percent to 43.191 trillion won.

At a conference call, Chief Financial Officer Lee Jae-rok said Kia plans to launch the K9 large-size sedan in the domestic market in the second quarter, adding the model will help raise the company’s average selling prices. The company is targeting to sell over 2,000 units of the flagship sedan per month, Mr. Lee said.

For 2011, the average selling price for exported vehicles increased 11 percent to $13,100 per unit, while that for domestic vehicles inched up 1.8 percent to 18.6 million won.

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Hyundai, Kia Decline After Earnings Miss Analysts’ Estimates: Seoul Mover

Hyundai Motor Co. and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp. fell in Seoul trading after South Korea’s two biggest automakers reported fourth-quarter profits that missed analysts’ estimates.

Hyundai fell for a second day, slipping as much as 3.7 percent to 220,500 won at 10:44 a.m. on the Korea Exchange, while Kia dropped as much as 2.9 percent. Seoul-based Hyundai, maker of the Elantra sedan, yesterday reported net income that was about 10 percent below the average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg, while Optima-maker Kia today delivered profit that was 27 percent lower than the average estimate.

The share declines signal investors are betting that Hyundai and Kia, the two best performers on the Bloomberg World Auto Manufacturers Index in 2011, will fail to replicate their success this year as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. recover from natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. This week, Honda President forecast Takanobu Ito forecast earnings will climb to the highest in at least five years and Toyota raised its sales forecast.

“There’s an underlying concern that Hyundai and Kia may not perform as well as they did last year,” said Lee Jin Woo, a fund manager at Seoul-based KTB Asset Management Co., which manages the equivalent of $3.6 billion in assets, including Hyundai and Kia shares. “This uncertainty will continue throughout the year, and each misstep will trigger the concern.”

Hyundai’s full-year net income rose 35 percent to 8.1 trillion won ($7.2 billion), more than the combined estimated earnings at Toyota and Nissan Motor Co. Still, the quarterly results missed estimates because of unexpected bonus payments at financial affiliate Hyundai Capital, Gregory Kim, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co. in Seoul, said yesterday.

Kia, the maker of the Optima sedan and Rio compact, today delivered fourth-quarter net income, operating profit and revenue that missed average analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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Toyota Sales Beat Analyst Estimates as Kia Leads Asia Brands’ U.S. Gains

Toyota Motor Corp.’s December sales gain beat analysts’ estimates and Kia Motors Corp. had the biggest increase among Asia-based brands, capping the U.S. auto industry’s best year since 2008.

Sales rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier for Toyota, compared with the average 1 percent drop of five estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Deliveries increased 43 percent for Kia, 13 percent for affiliate Hyundai Motor Co. and 7.7 percent for Nissan Motor Co., according to statements yesterday. Honda Motor Co. reported a 19 percent drop, citing tight inventory.

Industrywide sales gained an estimated 8.7 percent as consumer confidence reached an eight-month high in December, and carmakers aired holiday ads and continued promotions begun in November. Kia’s December surge in the U.S. gave the Seoul-based company a 36 percent full-year increase, the largest for a major automaker.

“Kia has even more potential this year,” said Rebecca Lindland, a Norwalk, Connecticut-based analyst for IHS Automotive. “Our forecast is for them to be up 23 percent. Hyundai will be up by double digits again in 2012, but right now everything new from Kia is selling really well.”

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Kia Will Focus on Quality, Not Product Expansion, Co-CEO Says

SEOUL – Kia has no plans to build new plants and will focus instead on product quality, despite concerns its limited production capacity may slow sales growth, said the automaker’s co-CEO, Lee Sam-ung.

“Quantitative growth is important, but qualitative growth is also important. We plan to focus on improving product quality and our brand,” he said at a launch event for Kia’s revamped Rio subcompact, according to Automotive News Europe.

“Global auto demand is expected to deteriorate, but we will launch new models, strengthen local promotions and enhance brand competitiveness to cope,” Lee said on Wednesday.

Kia will “try its utmost” to achieve its 2011 sales target of 2.5 million vehicles despite a troubled global economy, Lee said, adding that it had not yet fixed next year’s sales goal.

Kia and affiliate Hyundai Motors , are expected to continue to post strong sales this year despite the uncertain economic outlook, but their stretched production capacity has failed to keep up with demand.

A Hyundai executive told Reuters early this month that it also had no plans for new plants.

Lee denied media reports that Hyundai-Kia did not plan to produce pure electric vehicles and would focus on hybrid electric vehicles, saying the group plans to launch all-electric compact cars in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Kia aims to sell 260,000 of its new Rio subcompact next year globally, up from 110,000 this year, to expand its presence in the small-car segment. The Rio was Kia’s No.3 vehicle in terms of sales last year with global sales reaching 224,942 units.

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Kia to Add 3rd Shift, Hire 1,000 New Workers at Slovakia Plant

SEOUL – Kia will introduce a third shift at its Zilina, Slovakia, plant in the first quarter of next year and hire 1,000 new employees to expand output.

The move comes as Kia and affiliate Hyundai seek to aggressively boost sales in Europe. Kia plans to launch a successor to its Cee’d model, its top-selling vehicle in Europe, next year, according to Automotive News Europe.

Kia builds the Cee’d, Sportage, Venga models in Zilina.

“The creation of the third shift at Zilina is the latest step in Kia’s long-term process of building cars locally to best meet local consumers’ needs and tastes,” said Paul Philpott, Kia Europe’s chief operating officer, in a statement.

He added: “Strong demand for all our models and especially our new Sportage compact SUV means we need to significantly increase production at our Slovakia facility.”

Kia said the 1 billion euro investment is also expected that several thousand new jobs at component suppliers in Slovakia.

Kia’s sales increased 4.2 percent to nearly 180,000 in EU and EFTA countries in the first eight months, giving the brand a 2 percent market share, according to industry association ACEA.

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