Kia Motors exec says softer yen is biggest threat

SEOUL, March 28 Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:05pm EDT

SEOUL, March 28 (Reuters) - South Korea's Kia Motors is worried about the sharp decline in the value of the yen, which is aiding Japanese rivals, an executive at the affiliate of Hyundai Motor said on Thursday.

The South Korean won has risen 4 percent versus the yen this year after a 23 percent jump last year, further reducing the currency advantage that benefited South Korean automakers since the global financial crisis.

"The yen is the biggest threat to us, so we are closely monitoring the yen's moves," Lee Soon-nam, Kia's overseas marketing head, told reporters on the sidelines of Seoul Motor Show that kicks off on Thursday.

He said Japanese automakers have been giving far more incentives than Kia in the key U.S. market since late last year.

"Japanese automakers now have weapons," he said. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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