Kia Motors supplier says new Optima sedan could be launched in 2015

SEOUL, June 10 Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:31am EDT

SEOUL, June 10 (Reuters) - South Korean automaker Kia Motors may launch the revamped version of its popular mid-sized Optima sedan in the second half of next year, after a small company said it had won a contract to supply parts for the vehicle from June 2015.

Betting on what would be the first makeover of its key model in over five years, Kia seeks to win back customers in major markets like the United States and South Korea, analysts said.

The Optima sedan, which is sold as K5 in Korea, is Kia's second-biggest selling passenger vehicle in Korea, and its top-selling model in the United States.

South Korea's Daewoo Electronic Components said in a regulatory filing that it would start supplying a module to control the cooling fan motor of Kia's new K5, codenamed JF.

Daewoo Electronic Components said it will supply the controller via a South Korean unit of Japan's Denso Corp.

"It usually takes one month for a vehicle to start production after parts supply," an official at Daewoo Electronic Components told Reuters, adding that the schedule is subject to change.

A Kia spokeswoman declined to comment.

Kia, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, lost U.S. market share and sales last year due to supply disruptions at home and rising competition.

Kia gained some of its ground this year, boosting its U.S. sales 9 percent as of May versus the market's 5 percent gain.

"The new model, along with a slew of other new models like the Sorento SUVs, should help Kia end a losing streak in the U.S. market," said Suh Sung-moon, an auto analyst at Korea Investment & Securities.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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