DETROIT -- Kia Motors America expects to double its sales of certified-used vehicles over the next two years, nourished by the company's growing lease business, its top sales executive said.
"Certified will continue to be of ever-increasing importance to us as a brand," said Tom Loveless, Kia's executive vice president of sales. "Up until several years ago, we didn't have much of a lease portfolio at all." He made his comments after a presentation before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit this month.
"It's an extension of the new-car department, really," Loveless said.
Kia is one of the lowest sellers of certified-used cars and trucks but has more than doubled its sales this year. Through August, its dealers sold 12,216 certified units, up from 5,388 in the year-earlier period. In August, Kia dealers sold 1,824 certified vehicles, up from 716 in August 2011.
Kia started leasing in 2006 and began its certified used-vehicle program a year later. Both programs are key elements in the company's quest to boost new-car sales. Certified used-vehicle programs generally increase demand for used vehicles and the value of those vehicles. High resale values permit finance companies to offer lower monthly lease payments to consumers, also helping to boost sales.
Loveless said about 12 to 15 percent of Kia's new-car sales are through leases. "Clearly, leasing is an important part of our business, but it's never going to be the majority of our business," he said. "We're looking to strike that balance."