SEOUL -- Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest auto maker, said on Tuesday first-quarter net profit rose from a year earlier due to brisk sales of pricey recreation vehicles.
Kia, an affiliate of South Korea's largest auto maker Hyundai Motor Co., said it earned 141.6 billion won ($118.9 million) in net profit in the three months ended March, compared with 98.9 billion won a year ago. Sales were 3.0 trillion won from a revised 2.5 trillion won.
In a move to catch up in quality with rivals like Toyota Motor Corp., Hyundai and Kia have said they would boost r&d spending this year. Kia launched the Sorento small-sized SUV in the key U.S. market last year.