Kia to dealers: Get ready for more
Kia's Tom Loveless: "The industry is on its way to the level of 16 million sales."
Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
ORLANDO -- Kia asked dealers at its make meeting during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here to "take a longer term view" of Kia's growth plans and get ready for bigger volumes.
Tom Loveless, Kia Motors America executive vice president of sales, encouraged retailers to invest in their stores and service departments, expanding and improving where possible, to be prepared.
"The industry is on its way to the level of 16 million sales," Loveless told an audience of close to 200. "I'm talking about retail preparedness."
Kia has no program to formally nudge dealers into investing in their stores, as some brands do. And Loveless said outside the make meeting that Kia does not plan to create such a program.
But he urged retailers to take the initiative, says Don Hobden, executive manager of six Kia dealerships in Kentucky, Alabama and Indiana, and the chairman of Kia's dealer council.
"Kia is a little different from some other brands," Hobden says. "There's more of a partnership between the manufacturer and the dealers. They're telling us that there's an opportunity to expand."
Kia has seven new or significantly restyled models coming this year alone, including the full-sized Cadenza sedan in the third quarter, and a redesigned Sorento, which has just begun arriving in dealerships.
Loveless did not peg his outlook to a sales number for the brand in 2013. But he repeated to dealers that the company expects to increase its market share in 2013, up from 3.8 percent in 2012. Dealers sold 557,599 vehicles last year, up 15 percent from 2011.
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