Kia's US sales are climbing as the rest of the industry slows down.
South Korean automaker Kia is on fire in the US new car market, setting record January sales last month even as the industry as a whole continue to contract. The rally was led by the compact Kia Sportage crossover, which has just been revamped for the 2020 model year. That model posted an 11-percent uptick in sales in the US last month, compared to January 2019.
Joining the fray in the first month of 2020 was another pint-sized crossover utility vehicle: the brand new Kia Seltos subcompact. The model had its first US deliveries in January, with Kia managing to sell 94 units as the month came to a close.
More than half of Kia's US lineup held steady or gained ground last month, although there were some notable exceptions. The excellent Kia Stinger, for example, slid nearly 11 percent to 743 unit sales in January, and the Soul hatchback and Sedona minivan lost 22 and 25 percent, respectively. That's not a good look for the Soul, especially, as it was just redesigned for the 2020 model year.
Still, while US new car sales sustained their downward trajectory last year, with over 1 percent fewer units sold vs. 2018, Kia is trending in the opposite direction - a trend that might only accelerate as the Korean automaker continues to freshen up its lineup.
"After outpacing the industry last year Kia is off to a fast start with best-ever January sales," says Kia Motors America's VP of Sales Operations, Bill Peffer. "With the all-new Seltos SUV already on sale in select areas and hitting showrooms nationwide over the next few weeks, along with more new and refreshed models on the way, we are confident that more consumers will continue taking notice of Kia's world-class offerings."
Kia's January sales figures are a strong reminder of just how far the brand has come since launching in the Pacific Northwest in 1994. The leadership team at Hyundai and Kia has become a bit of a who's who of influential European automotive minds, counting former Bentley and Lamborghini designer Luc Donckerwolke and former BMW M chief Albert Biermann among its ranks.