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Kia Motors logs record profit in 2011
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Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest automaker, said Friday that it posted a record profit in 2011 thanks mainly to brisk sales in overseas markets.

Net profit reached 3.5 trillion won (US$3.1 billion) last year, up 30.4 percent from a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Sales jumped 20.6 percent on-year to 43.2 trillion won in 2011, and operating profit also shot up 41.6 percent to 3.5 trillion won.

Kia Motors said the record-breaking performance is attributable to robust sales of its vehicles based on an improved brand image.

"Kia Motors posted good results thanks to enhanced market competitiveness despite the European debt crisis and a general economic slowdown," said the carmaker in a statement. "Our new quality cars have strengthened the company's brand image and fueled the sales increase."

However, the bottom-line fell short of a market consensus of 3.8 trillion won polled by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency, and sales also failed to meet an earlier forecast of 44.4 trillion won.

Its global sales jumped 19.2 percent from a year earlier to 2,538,020 units in 2011, said Kia Motors. It sold some 485,000 vehicles in the Unites States, up 36.3 percent from a year earlier, while sales in China, now the world's biggest market for automobiles, jumped 29.9 percent to 433,000 cars.

Kia Motors' domestic sales rose a mere 1.7 percent to 492,000 vehicles due to sluggish demand, it added.

For the fourth quarter of last year, its net income dropped 3.5 percent to 790.3 billion won from a year ago. Sales rose 8.7 percent on-year to 10.9 trillion won with sales of 684,770 vehicles. Its operating profit climbed 16.8 percent to 825.8 billion won over the September-December period.

Kia Motors said it seeks to sell around 2,712,000 vehicles this year, with a growth rate of 9.5 percent. Its 2012 domestic sales target has been set at 500,000 units, although the market is forecast to grow 2.2 percent on-year.

In the U.S., Kia Motors said it plans to see a 10 percent increase this year, with the sale of 534,000 vehicles.

The company said it wants to sell 356,000 vehicles in Europe this year, up 22.8 percent from 2011. Sales should be helped by the release of the new C'eed small-sized family car in the region.

The K9, Kia Motors' highly-anticipated large luxury sedan, will be unveiled in the second quarter of this year, said the company. Kia Motors said it expects a monthly sale of 2,000 units in South Korea.

Kia Motors, an affiliate of industry leader Hyundai Motor Co., said it has no plans for further facility expansion this year except for its third plant in China led by Hyundai Motor.

Source Text


Source: Yonhap News (Jan. 27, 2012)

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