SEOUL Jan 24 South Korean automaker Kia Motors
Corp said Friday it expected sales to grow faster
than bigger rival Toyota Motor this year, although the
won's strength coupled with the yen's weakness would put its
earnings under pressure.
The company said global retail sales would rise 6 percent to
2.9 million vehicles, driven by China and the United States.
Toyota Motor said on Thursday that its global retail sales
would expand 4 percent to 10.32 million vehicles this year,
topping 10 million for the first time as the weaker yen gave it
a competitive edge overseas.
Kia Motors said it aimed to raise its China sales by 15
percent to 630,000 vehicles this year, helped by the operation
of its third factory there and the planned rollout of its new
Kia said sales in the United States would climb 9 percent
from a year earlier, to 585,000 vehicles, while South Korean
sales would rise 5 percent to 480,000 vehicles.
Its domestic market would be driven by the introduction of
the fully revamped versions of the Carnival mini van and Sorento
sport utility vehicle this year.
Shares in Kia Motors and affiliate Hyundai Motor Co
slumped over 3 percent on Friday after they posted
disappointing quarterly earnings.
Kia Motors' operating profit fell 10 percent last year,
whereas analysts expect Toyota to post a record operating profit
in the year ended in March.
Toyota plans to announce its quarterly earnings on Feb. 4.