MUNICH -- Kia Motors increased its global new-car sales despite falls in Europe and North America in 2008.
The Korean brand sold 1.38 million vehicles in 2008, up 8.4 percent from 2007.
In North America, Kia¹s unit sales fell 6.6 percent to 310,000. In Europe, sales were down 2.3 percent to 335,000.
But gains in markets such as China and Russia helped to offset the decline.
Hyoung-Keun Lee, head of Kia¹s International Business Division, said Kia sales suffered a slowdown in the last quarter in North America and Europe, but the carmaker increased market share in many markets in the two regions.
In China, Kia sales were up 34.2 percent to 151,000 units and in its ³rest of the world² market including Russia and South America, sales increased
30.5 percent to 262,166.
The brand¹s Korean sales rose by 16.2 percent to 316,432 units.
Lee said Kia is well positioned to gain market share by satisfying the demand for fuel-efficient and compact vehicles despite difficult economic conditions.
Kia is introducing fuel-saving stop-start technology in its Cee¹d lower-medium car, which is built at its plant in Zilina, Slovakia.
Lee said Kia¹s new product pipeline is strong with the upcoming launch of the Soul urban crossover, as well as an upgraded Cee'd and a new small minivan scheduled to go on sale in Europe in late 2009.