Kia Optima Production to Increase in US

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Kia sold 84,590 Optima mid-size sedans last year – three times what it sold in 2010. Kia is expected to increase production of the Optima by 60,000 units at its West Point, Georgia plant. The Korean automaker expanded it capacity at West Point by the same amount last year. Kia told Automotive News that it would use the increase to meet demand of the Kia Optima in North America.

“We expect those [Optima and Sorento] vehicles to account for about 50 percent of our volume here in the U.S. in 2012,” Tom Loveless, Kia Motors America’s vice president of sales, said at the Chicago Auto Show, to Automotive News. The Optima sedan and Sorento SUV accounted for 44 percent of Kia’s U.S. sales last year.

The Kia Optima is expected to surpass the Sorento this year as the brand’s number one selling vehicle in the U.S. Kia struggled to fill last year’s demand. The Korean automaker told Automotive News that it would import Optimas from Korea if it could not meet North American demand. (All Kia Optima Hybrids are built in Korea.)

The Sorento was Kia’s best seller for the last two years in the U.S., but the Kia Optima is poised to overtake it this year. The automaker hopes to sell more than 100,000 Optimas in 2012 making it the third vehicle to reach that status – the automaker sold 130,235 Kia Sorentos and 102,267 KiA Souls in the United States, in 2011.

In all, Kia sold 485,492 vehicles in the U.S. in 2011 – more than 65 percent (or 317,092) of those sales comprised of the Sorento, Soul, and Optima.

Source: Automotive News

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