Cars like the Kia Provo concept could be critical to Kia's growth
Kia UK boss Paul Philpott has targeted sales growth of more than 50 per cent by the end of the decade — putting the Korean manufacturer in the top five sellers in the UK market with more than 100,000 sales a year.
Speaking off the back of a record first quarter in 2013, during which Kia sold more than 19,000 cars, 12 per cent up year-on-year, Philpott predicted further gains despite expectations of a relatively static market.
"I expect the UK market to stay between two and 2.2 million units a year, but within that Kia has great potential for growth," said Philpott. "We are a relatively young brand, with low but rising awareness of the quality of our products.
The new Kia Ceed, Kia Picanto and Kia Sportage are currently the firm's best sellers in the UK, with customers increasingly speccing higher grade models, raising Philpott's hopes of greater profitability.
"We've already reacted by introducing a higher kit level for the Sportage, and we are looking at doing the same for the new Carens," said Philpott. "The days of people buying the entry-level Kia are changing."
Following the launch of the latest Kia Carens later this year, the firm's aggressive six-year renewal of its entire range will be complete. Philpott conceded this meant the time is now right for Kia to launch new, more niche sellers that help raise the brand profile.
"Aside from facelifts, the next few years will have space for other product launches. The Provo concept at the Geneva motor show was one example of where we will go - it was extremely well received and everyone expects growth in the small SUV segment."