Kia America churned out best-ever September sales in the U.S., primarily due to strong demand for crossovers, while helping boost the company's third-quarter performance, marking the first three-month gain for Kia since the third quarter of 2021.
The entry-level Seltos subcompact crossover, Sorento midsize crossover and long-running Sportage compact crossover, redesigned for 2023, all posted double-digit gains in September and the third quarter. The Telluride large crossover, which has been a top seller for Kia, slipped in for the month but squeaked by with a slight increase for the third quarter.
Eric Watson, vice president of sales operations at Kia America, said the crossovers are helping Kia gain market share and volume in key segments.
Kia will turn up production on its three-row Telluride, which was refreshed for 2023 with upgrades that enhance its off-roading prowess and give it a sportier look overall. Two new adventure-oriented trims — X-Line and X-Pro — also joined the lineup.
Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, Watson said: "Building upon record September and third-quarter sales, we're optimistic that Kia will see a strong fourth quarter."
Sales: Up 4.4% to 184,808 in Q3; up 6.4% to 56,270 in September
Notable nameplates: Sportage, up 88% in September, up 47% in Q3; Sorento, up 79% in September, up 83% in Q3; Seltos, up 37% in September, up 22% in Q3; Telluride, down 9% in September, up 0.5% in Q3; K5/Optima, off 8% in September, down 18% in Q3
Incentives: $384 per vehicle in September, down 81 percent, and $475 per vehicle in the third quarter, down 80% from a year earlier, TrueCar says.
Average transaction price: $34,880, up 9.6 percent in September, and $34,844 in the third quarter, up 12 percent from a year earlier, according to TrueCar.
Quote: "You can't talk about Kia without talking about Telluride. It's the most rewarded, popular Kia of all time, and it's on pace for its best sales year yet. The numbers will continue to rise with a 20 percent increase in production beginning this month at our plant in Georgia." — Steve Center, Kia America COO