Kia distributor sees 10-15% sales hike

By Louella D. Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 12 2013 08:35 AM | Updated as of Jan 12 2013 04:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Columbian Autocar Corp., distributor of Kia Motors vehicles in the Philippines, sees a 10 to 15-percent growth in sales this year, on expectations that favorable economic conditions will be sustained and as it introduces new models in the market, an official said.

Palermo Soriano Jr., marketing services head at Columbian Autocar, told reporters Wednesday night, the firm expects its sales to rise by 10 to 15 percent this year from the 7,570 units sold last year.

He said last year’s sales improved 44 percent compared to its performance in 2011, with bulk of the sales accounted for by the Rio and Sportage models.

The higher sales were seen amid the country’s positive economic performance.

“At the very least until 2016, everything is looking up in the economy, so it will also be seen in Kia,” Soriano said.

Apart from the country’s economic conditions, the launch of new vehicle models this year is likewise seen to support higher sales.

Soriano said the firm would launch the seven-seater multipurpose vehicle Carens in the middle of the year.

“We think Filipinos will like it. It has the most awards among our vehicle models,” he said.

He said the firm is also introducing the Forte sedan this year.

To test the market for hybrid vehicles here, he said, they would start offering the hybrid variant of the Optima by next month.

“We see that there are still people looking for it (hybrid vehicles),” he said.

“We are looking at selling 10 to 15 units (of the hybrid variant) per month,” he said further.

All the vehicles sold by Columbian Autocar are brought in from other countries.

Asked if the firm would manufacture cars locally, Soriano said there are no immediate plans.