KIA Stinger, to be sold — and built — in Mexico. KIA Stinger, to be sold — and built — in Mexico.

KIA tops Ford, Mazda for new-vehicle sales

The auto maker has captured 5.5% of the market in two years

After opening its first dealerships just two years ago, KIA Motors has overtaken Ford and Mazda and captured 5.5% of the new vehicle market in Mexico.

The South Korean automaker arrived here in July 2015 and sold 11,000 vehicles in its first six months.

Sales in 2016 soared to 58,000 and in the first quarter of this year the company sold 41,055 units. Its sales goal for the year is 80,000.

The brand is now the seventh most popular among Mexican buyers.

KIA Motors México president Woo Yoel Park attributed the company’s success to its distributor network — its dealerships now cover 94% of the country — and its product offerings, which he said cater to the fastest-growing segments of the market, such as sport-utility vehicles, compacts and subcompacts.

KIA plans to open 12 new dealerships — an investment of 520 million pesos, or US $28.7 million — this year to bring its geographical coverage up to 98%.

This month it will begin selling a new model called the Stinger, a four-door hatchback aimed at the premium segment, competing against the Audi 4 and the BMW 3 series.

Although it’s a niche segment and won’t generate much sales volume, it will help the brand’s image, said KIA México general manager Horacio Chávez.

The Stinger will be built at KIA’s plant in Nuevo León starting this year.

Source: Expansión (sp), El Universal (sp)

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