"The foundation of the brand." While the hip new Soul may be gaining Kia some much-needed attention, it's the Forte that will be the brand's volume leader.
In automotive circles, these days, it’s often said that “flat is the new up.” With most major automakers posting hefty double-digit declines, even a single-digit sales dip, is considered a huge success.
So, with its volume off just 6.8 percent, Kia is among the industry’s “winners,” in the ongoing market collapse. That’s all the more true when one considers that the South Korean carmaker’s market share has soared from just 2%, last year to 3.1% during the first five months of 2009.
“While we don’t know how things will work out for the year, as a whole,” suggests Tom Loveless, Kia’s vice president of sales, “we’d have to shut down completely not to post some market share gain in 2009.”
For years, Kia lived in the shadow of its bigger sibling, Hyundai Motors. Suddenly, however, it is carving out an identity of its own. It’s reversing a reputation for quality problems, and it’s launching stand-out products, such as the new Soul crossover, which has been accompanied by what is arguably the year’s most well-received ad campaign, featuring a pair of hip hamsters. (more…)