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Kia Flat Sales Boosted by Soul, Forte

Kia announced that its sales for February 2014 were down but unlike its sibling brand did not hide behind excuses and touted the success of the Soul and Forte models.

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Kia sales for February 2014 were 41,218, which is down .6 percent from February 2013 when they were 41,505. Call that a statistical dead heat that probably could be blamed on the weather in February.

Speaking of the weather, Hyundai said it was making no excuses but then blamed its poor sales for February on "the awful winter weather" that swept the country. That's instead of blaming it on the anchor-like effect of the Hyundai Sonata, which is suffering in reputation.

Kia has reasons to be optimistic. The Kia Soul, introduced in the fall of 2013, continues to be a winner for the brand. Sales were 10,584 in February 2014 vs. 9551 in February 2013 for a 10.8% increase.

The Kia Forte, a spectacular car, saw sales climb to 5513 from 5003 last year. That's a healthy 10.1% bump that should continue to grow in the coming months. Seriously, the Kia Forte is an outstanding car that should continue to gain more respect in the marketplace.

One odd note in the Kia sales success for February would be the Kia Sedona, the brand's minivan that is going to be replaced this year. Last month 456 were sold vs. 138 for the same month last year. What the heck is going on when minivan sales spike like that? Instinct would suggest a major sale to a rental car company. After all, the minivan gets no marketing support compared to the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey minivans.

The strong sales of the Kia Forte and Kia Soul bode well for the Korean automaker's youthful vibe. Now the challenge is going to be keeping buyers in an upscale frame of mind with the recently introduced Kia K900. That luxury sedan is never going to bolster sales figures because it's a low-volume vehicle but it is going to clear the way for other new products if it is a sales success.

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