Kia Motors saw strong growth in 2017. Kia Motors saw strong growth in 2017.

Kia Motors’ growth puts it at No. 7 in MX

Sales up almost 50%, while Toyota recorded its best year ever

Asian automakers Kia and Toyota were standout performers in a weaker new car market in 2017, and German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz led the luxury segment.

South Korean manufacturer Kia Motors achieved strong sales growth in Mexico last year to become the seventh most popular make in the domestic market.

The auto maker sold 86,700 vehicles in 2017, a number that the company said represented an almost 50% improvement on the previous year. Kia also ended the year well, selling 8,080 cars in December.

“These figures reflect the confidence of the Mexican consumer in one of the most complete ranges in the Mexican market, which in addition to its proven quality and design, offers a seven-year guarantee to back up the brilliant performance of Kia models,” Kia Motors México said in a statement.

The automaker opened its first dealerships in Mexico in 2015, but expanded quickly and by July last year had overtaken Ford and Mazda to capture 5.5% of the new vehicle market.

The company’s best-selling vehicle last month was the Kia Rio, which is made in its plant in Pesquería, Nuevo León.

The next most popular models were the Kia Sportage and Kia Forte. The latter is also produced in its Mexican facility, which started operations in May 2016.

The Kia dealerships that reported the strongest sales in the last month of 2017 are all located in the greater Mexico City metropolitan area. The Ciudad Satélite outlet led the way with 217 sales followed by its Linda Vista and López Mateos dealerships.

Japanese automaker Toyota also achieved healthy sales figures in Mexico last year. The company sold 105,464 cars in 2017, making last year its best ever in the Mexican market.

The figure represented a 0.5% improvement on 2016 sales and placed it fourth in the market behind Nissan, General Motors and Volkswagen.

However, the top three automakers all recorded sales declines in 2017 and the Association of Mexican Auto Distributors estimated that the overall market contracted by 3.3%, the first downturn since 2009.  A total of around 1.5 million new cars were sold last year.

While the growth achieved by Toyota was modest, its Mexico sales director said the total number of vehicles sold still represented a significant milestone for the company.

“We managed to finish 2017 exceeding our sales target and we feel very proud to have achieved the best year of sales for Toyota in Mexico . . .” Guillermo Díaz said.

The top sellers for Toyota in 2017 were the Hilux, which sold just over 19,000 units, followed by the Yaris sedan, Avanza, Corolla and Hiace. Hiace vans are commonly used for public transit in several parts of Mexico.

At the luxury end of the car market, German maker Mercedes-Benz led the way in 2017. It also broke its previous sales record in Mexico, achieving 22% growth on 2016 figures to sell 17,691 vehicles last year.

The prestige auto maker is celebrating 25 years in the Mexican market in 2018.

Despite a decline of 9.1% in sales in 2017, Nissan remained the market leader with a total of 364,557 vehicles sold. It also manufactures five of last year’s top 10 selling cars in Mexico.

The top five cars sold in the first 11 months of 2017 and representing 39% of the total market were the Nissan Versa, Nissan SP300 pickup, Chevrolet Areo, Volkswagen Vento and Nissan March.

Source: Milenio (sp) El Universal (sp), El Financiero (sp), Alto Nivel (sp)

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