Saturday, April 19, 2014
 
Follow sptimesonline on Facebook Follow sptimesonline on Twitter Follow sptimesonline on RSS
MOST READ



PARTNER NEWS


Legendary Porcelain Artworks for Your Home
The Gift Projects online showroom...


BLOGS



OPINION

 

  Print this article Print this article

Kia Ready to Take Advantage of Growing Car Demand

Published: September 18, 2013 (Issue # 1778)



  • With the Russian market showing potential for growth, Kim says Kia is ready to meet demand with an affordable product lineup.
    Photo: Igor Tabakov / SPT

Kia Motors could invest inmaking more cars inRussia, where it is thethird best selling brand, if themarket rebounds andshoots past the3-million mark, theSouth Korean companys local chief said.

If overall sales ofnew vehicles climb to3.5 million units, it will be agood enough number toconsider committing money toa new assembly line, said Kim Seong Hwan, thecarmakers president inRussia.

All our studies are ready, he said ina rare interview.

Kim did not say when themarket might expand that much. Russia may surpass that level in2018 atbest, according toOleg Datskiv, chief executive ofmarket research portal Auto-Dealer.ru.

Fornow, sales are ona slippery slope. Customers are likely tobuy 2.8 million new vehicles this year, which would be afive-percent decline fromlast year, theAssociation ofEuropean Businesses predicted inJune.

Kia cars now roll off assembly lines attwo locations inRussia. One is aSt. Petersburg plant co-owned with sister company Hyundai Motors, which allotted Kia thecapacity tomanufacture 100,000 vehicles now theRio model, thethird bestselling car brand inRussia.

Kia can also order thesame amount ofcars froma Kaliningrad plant that belongs toAvtotor andnow cranks out nine models forthe brand.

TheKorean car giant aims tosell 200,000 cars locally this year, including imports, meaning it will not utilize its full Russian production capacity.

If Kias main office decides toadd local assembly lines, it may choose places other than St. Petersburg, Kim said.

Ina declining market, Kia is one ofa few brands that are going against thetide. It sold four percent more cars inthe first seven months ofthis year than inthe same period last year, according todata bythe Association ofEuropean Businesses inRussia.

Kim attributed therobust performance toautomobile designs byPeter Schreyer, aGerman designer known forhis work atAudi, who joined theKorean company in2006. Inaddition, Russians appreciate theyoung anddynamic spirit ofthe brand, Kim said.

With a seven percent market share, Kia trails behind thelocal auto industry champion AvtoVAZ andFrances Renault.

Inorder tocapitalize onRussias growing appetite forexpensive sedans, Kia brought its Quoris model tothe market in March thefirst time thecompany introduced aluxury car here, Kim said.

It is also taking proper note ofthe growing popularity ofsport utility vehicles ina country where anincreasing number ofpeople can afford them fordriving through snow andotherwise rough terrain. Kim estimated that theproportion ofSUV sales would bump to38 percent inabout three years fromits current 33 percent.

Kim agreed with acommonly held view that Russia could overtake Germany as thelargest European market forcars atsome point before theend ofthis decade. Russias relatively low number ofcar owners approximately half ofthe 500 vehicles per 1,000 people inEurope holds promise forgrowth. Also, more than half ofcars inthe country are older than 10 years, meaning theres a likelihood that owners will discard them fornew ones.

As alarger number ofcustomers are about tostart shopping forautomobiles, Kia is preparing tocounter therenewal ofthe affordable product lineup byAvtoVAZ andthe success ofRenault inthe low-cost segment with theLogan model, Kim said.

We are watching them closely, he said. We have plans athand torespond strongly tothe offers ofour competitors.





 


Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianitys holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.