ORLANDO -- Kia will continue to be aggressive in the United States this year, executives told dealers at the make meeting.
The brand is shooting for a 10 percent increase in sales this year and says it has the means to do it. Last year, Kia sold 300,063 vehicles in the United States.
Kia has entered the compact-crossover segment with its redesigned Sorento, which went on sale in December. Sales in January were up 117 percent over the previous model, which was truck-based.
The redesigned Sportage crossover is due this spring. Strong consumer incentives will be offered.
Kia Motors America Inc. will continue to look for high-profile advertising venues such as the Super Bowl. This year for the first time, Kia advertised during the broadcast of the NFL championship game.
"We've got a lot of new product coming. We have aggressive goals." Tom Loveless, Kia's vice president of sales, said after the meeting.
Kia dealer John Stevenson of Jacksonville, N.C., said not only is it new product, it's also high-quality product. "Our product is drawing the interest of the Toyota and Honda buyer," said Stevenson, who also holds Toyota and Honda franchises.
Stevenson said he is pleased that Kia plans to introduce an ad campaign in the spring that will emphasize quality. He said the new quality message and a current campaign about Kia's new plant in Georgia will help to enhance the brand's image as a good American citizen.
"Customers like to hear 'built in America,' " Stevenson said. He said there was no word on whether Kia's marketing budget was increased.
There was some concern at the meeting because Kia does not offer its dealers floorplan assistance.
Kia dealers also asked for more company support for the certified used-vehicle program.
Hyundai Capital America, the finance company for Hyundai and Kia, has said it will provide more funding for Hyundai's certified-used program. Said Loveless: "So I guess we may be getting some too."