Kia, a popular brand with British drivers, has recorded its best ever quarterly and half-year sales in the company's 70 year history. According to the latest data from ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers' Association) year-on-year growth accelerated to 7.6%.
During the first six months of this year, Kia reported sales of 200,038 units, which represents the most successful period recorded by the Korean brand in Europe.
Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe, commented: “2015 to date has been a great period for Kia in Europe, with sales records tumbling and new highs reached. We're delighted that Kia continues to grow, consistently and sustainably, and that an increasing number of motorists are drawn to our range of high quality, high value cars."
Cole added: “Kia is focused on developing an unrivalled level of quality in its products, and an industry-leading level of service at every customer touchpoint. We want customers to enjoy buying and owning their Kia cars, and our record sales demonstrate that our approach is working."
Kia continues to delight British drivers with the UK being the biggest market in Europe with national sales hitting a high of 40,849 units in the first half of 2015.
Which Models Are Driving Growth?
This first quarter growth has been driven by rising sales of the all-new Kia Soul; roomy and well equipped it has been well received by critics. Selling 7,042 units, it was closely followed by the all-new Sorento, with 5,670 units sold so far this year.
Strong performance has also been seen through two recently upgraded models, the Venga and Rio with year on year sales up 11.8% and 6.1% respectively.
Kia, who started life in Korea in 1944, started to export to the European market in 1991 and by the end of that year had sold 1,800 'Prides', a compact car aimed at budget conscious drivers. Within 2 years sales had more than doubled and through the introduction of new designs in 1994 Kia was beginning to rival models from manufacturers such as Ford and Vauxhall.
The Sportage SUV range, first sold in 1995, has been popular across Europe, but, since 2002, Kia has gained more sales in this market thanks to the launch of the larger Sorento.
In 1998, Kia's future in Britain was compromised when sales fell to less than 3,000 units across the whole range.
Nevertheless the brand continued to deliver new models including the Credos – a four door sedan in 1999. With its spacious interior, large boot, competitive price, and high equipment levels, it offered drivers a lot for their money.
With the range expanded by 1999, sales more than double the previous year's total. That annual sales figure had almost been matched in 2000 by the end of May, reflecting Kia's growing popularity with British buyers and by 2009, Kia was firmly established as a popular brand in Britain when sales broke the 50,000 barrier for the first time.
Since then Kia has gone from strength to strength taking its place alongside more established manufacturers.
By Tracey McBain