SEOUL -- Kia is targeting Germany as its main European growth market to boost its reputation globally.
Increasing sales significantly "in a market well-known for its high standards" will enhance Kia's reputation, said Soo-Hang Chang, manager of Kia's west Europe team.
"Germany is an important market because it is the largest market in Europe. Having high market share in Germany will naturally have a positive effect for us," Chang said in an interview here.
Said Kia spokesperson Chris Dore: "Germany is a high-level auto market where all the major global automakers compete."
Kia Motors Germany wants to increase its market share to 2 percent from 0.9 percent in the next four years. Around 3.2 million new cars were sold in Germany in 2003.
Kia aims to sell 31,800 cars in Germany this year, up 17.3 percent from 2003.
The Korean automaker, which is a subsidiary of Hyundai, will add 20 dealers in Germany by the end of the year, increasing the brand's presence there to 250 dealers and 420 retail outlets.
Spending an extra E9 million to support a 0% percent finance incentive program in Germany is another part of Kia's plan, Kia Motors Germany Managing Director Haydan Leshel recently told dealers.
Kia wants to boost average sales in Germany to 150 from less than 100 cars per dealer.
Kia says its exports to western, central and eastern Europe rose by 67 percent to 206,984 units in the first 10 months of 2004. A new E1 billon assembly plant in Zilina, Slovakia, to open in late 2006, will be the centerpiece of Kia's ambitious drive to expand its presence in Europe.