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Kia Hints at Record Sales Thanks to Soul Searching

With nine days left in the month, a top Kia executive is hinting sales will hit record levels for the month of May. That would follow up on record sales so far this year for April and January and get the company back to healthy full-year sales.


According to a journalist at the Midwest Automotive Media Association spring rally at Road America, Scott McKee, Kia director of communications, hinted during his morning keynote talk the Korean manufacturer would have record May sales. That would mean the company would need to beat last year's then-record sales of 52,327.

In April, according to Kia, "Record monthly sales were led by the U.S.-built Optima midsize sedan with 14,589 units sold, while the Soul urban passenger vehicle achieved an all-time single-month sales record of 14,403 units sold. In addition, Kia marked the sale of its five millionth vehicle in the U.S. in April." That last achievement came about as Kia marks 20 years of selling in the United States.

Through April, Kia had sold 186,682 vehicles in the United States, compared to 174,488 through April 2013. The big boost is coming from the Soul, which is just white hot. Its sales through April were 47,071 vs. 40,324 through April 2013. The new Cadenza, which has sold 3390 units compared to April 2013 when it had sold 61 year to date, also is responsible for a big part of the boost. Even the lowly Kia Sedona, which is being rebranded as a multi-activity vehicle (not to be confused with a minivan) has seen sales through April increase by 1500 units.

There are some losers in the Kia lineup, though. Rio sales are down through the end of April compared to last year, as well as the Sorento and Optima. The three combined are off by 6300 year-to-date. Oddly, the Optima is Kia's best selling vehicle but its sales would be considered flat while overall sales are up 12.8 percent.

Kia needs a strong 2014 to offset a 2013 that saw sales drop while the rest of the industry is doing well. Its 2013 sales were 535,179 vs. 557,599 in 2012. For 2014 to be considered a success the company is going to need to top the 557,599 sales figure.