Kia finished the first month of the year as Russia's No. 3 brand thanks to a 35 percent rise in sales. Led by the Rio, Kia increased its January unit-sales volume to 4,920 from 3,635 during the same month last year, according to data from the Association of European Businesses in the Russian Federation.
Kia ended the month just 198 units behind sister brand Hyundai in the race to be Russia's top-selling foreign brand. Lada, from Russia's AvtoVAZ, easily maintained its No. 1 spot despite a 41 percent sales drop to 17,308 units.
Based on group sales, Kia and Hyundai trailed General Motors' and Volkswagen's five-brand groups. (Click on Russia sales table, right)
Overall new-car sales in Russia fell 37 percent in January from a year before, extending the pain the market has felt since the global economic downturn hit the country in late 2008. The bad start has dampened hopes the market will avoid a second consecutive year of collapse.
The Renault Logan started 2010 the same way it left off 2009 -- as Russia's top-selling foreign car. Lada claimed the other four places in Russia's top five for January. The Kia Rio broke into the top 10 thanks to a quadruple-digit rise in sales. Kia sold 1,471 units of the subcompact last month, up from just 75 during January 2009. (Click on Russia Top 10 table, above right)