Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kia Soul Sales to Surpass 1 Mill Mark this Month

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- Sales of Kia Motors Corp.'s Soul urban passenger vehicle (UPV) are expected to surpass the 1 million mark this month, making the vehicle one of the carmaker's all-time hit models.

South Korea's No. 2 automaker said sales of the boxy car, which first reached consumers in Sept. 2008, surpassed 990,000 units as of last month. It said that with monthly sales hovering at an average 19,000 vehicles per month, the total will easily top the million mark in October.

The car, made famous by the hamster commercials in the United States and, more recently, as the car that ferried Pope Francis during his five-day visit to South Korea in August, has been a surprise success for the carmaker.

It has easily outsold other boxy cars made by Japanese rivals, such as the Nissan Cube, with annual sales topping 100,000 in 2009 and a record 177,864 units the following year.

"Only the Pride subcompact that has been on the market longer tops the Soul in terms of export numbers, a clear indication of how popular the car is overall," a corporate source said.

The release of the completely remodeled Soul last year pushed up sales to 171,119 units in the first nine months of 2014, more than the 164,420 cars sold for the whole of last year.

Kia said that, at current pace, sales figures for the Soul will reach an annual all-time high.

The carmaker, part of Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest automaker, said strong sales are noteworthy because the UPV does not have a conventional sedan, hatchback or even crossover design, and was initially criticized for its "odd" shape.

This "funky" design, however, has been well received abroad, and in particular in the United States where 56 percent of all Soul have been sold so far.

Reflecting this, sales of the Soul in the U.S. hit 10,802 units last month, second only to the Optima midsize sedan that is made in. For the whole of this year, Soul sales hit 115,579 units in the U.S. market, trailing only the Optima's 122,646 units.

Kia said due to the popularity of the Soul, it expects the car to remain one of its top nameplates. The carmaker this year fortified the lineup by introducing the electrified Soul EV that aims to appeal to consumers wanting to drive eco-friendly cars.

No comments: