FRANKFURT – Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest automaker, has set its sights on becoming Europe's 10th-largest mainstream brand by 2013.
To get there, the company will have to leapfrog its parent, Hyundai, as well as Volkswagen's Skoda brand and Renault's Dacia. That means driving sales to about 450,000 units from 262,627 last year, an approximate 71 percent rise in volume over the next two years.
Hyundai sold 358,284 units in Europe in 2010, up 4.7 percent, according to the European automakers' association, ACEA.
Kia ranked 16th in overall European sales last year with a market share of 1.9 percent, and 13th among mainstream brands, a category that excludes BMW brand, Daimler's Mercedes and VW AG's Audi unit.
Can it be done?
“We have the product, the ambition and the dealer confidence to get there,” Kia Motors Europe Chief Operating Officer Paul Philpott said in an interview with Automotive News Europe earlier this month. “Our products are now better than our brand recognition.”
Philpott, a 44-year-old British native who joined the Korean company in 2007 after 11 years at Ford Motor Co. and nine at Toyota Motor Corp., expects Kia sales to rise almost 15 percent this year to 300,000 units in an overall European market expected to be “flat at best.”