From: Reuters
Published May 21, 2008 10:46 PM

Kia aims to nearly double foreign sales by 2010

SEOUL (Reuters) - Kia Motors Corp <000270.KS> said on Thursday it aims to nearly double overseas sales to 1.9 million vehicles in 2010 by launching new models and boosting its presence in foreign markets.

Kia, South Korea's No.2 automaker and an affiliate of market leader Hyundai Motor Co <005380.KS>, said in a statement that it plans to launch a revamped model of the Lotze mid-sized sedan and the next version of the Cerato compact sedan abroad in the second half of the year.

The maker of the Sportage sport utility vehicle (SUV) is scheduled to open its first U.S. plant in Georgia with an annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles next year.

Currently, Kia has factories in China and Slovakia.

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Analysts say overseas units are key for Kia as they help the company reduce risks from sharp foreign exchange movements and possible disputes with its unionized workers.

Kia is targeting 1.36 million unit sales in overseas markets this year, compared to 1.09 million in 2007.

Shares in Kia dropped 2.01 percent to 12,200 won, underperforming a 1.39 percent fall in the broader market <.KS11>.

(Reporting by Cheon Jong-woo; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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