Coronavirus hasn't impacted the Korean brand... yet.
Kia has seen steady growth over the last few decades, with a strong product lineup spearheaded by the Kia Stinger, taking the fight to German luxury marques like BMW and Audi. But as 2020 began to get underway, there was uncertainty as to whether car sales for the Korean brand would continue to rise in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Q1 sales business results have been revealed though, and in one metric Kia has triumphed despite the odds being stacked against it. The first quarter of 2021 resulted in a revenue gain of 17.1% compared to the same period last year, with revenue buoyed by a spate of new products including the Kia Seltos and the award-winning Kia Telluride.
The number of units sold was down, though, with 648,685 units sold in the first three months of 2020, compared to the 661,355 last year, with a 2.6% drop in sales outside of Korea as a result of the current global pandemic. But despite increased revenue, aided by favorable exchange rates, operating profits plummeted by 25.2%, while net profit dropped even more - by 59% to a total of KRW 266 billion ($215.5 million).
There's bad news ahead, though, as the continued spread of Covid-19 will be taking full effect on global sales in Q2 according to Kia's predictions. While the Chinese car market looks to be back on track, the rest of the world is locking down, with numerous manufacturers halting production and delaying the reopening of manufacturing facilities.
Kia will be counteracting the slump, however, with an enhanced model lineup that will focus on SUVs. The Seltos and Telluride have already been commercial successes, with the latter picking up a World Car of The Year award recently. In addition to the revised focus on certain products, new marketing strategies will focus on the customer more than ever before, as well as on the evolving customer needs in light of the current global environment.
There will still be a focus on EVs going forward, with Kia's 'Plan S' strategy still in place to introduce 11 new EVs by 2025, increasing operating profits by 6% overall at the same point in time.