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Sorento boosts Kia sales in U.S.

Kia Motors saw its sales exceed 300,000 units in the United States for the first eight months of this year, thanks to growing popularity of the crossover utility vehicle Sorento R.

The automaker said Friday that it sold 41,188 vehicles in the U.S. market in August to post 331,796 units in sales this year, up 39.4 percent from the same period of 2010.

The Sorento R was the most popular model of Kia Motors there with sales of 88,613 units between January and August.

Kia recorded 50.2 percent year-on-year growth in Sorento R sales by selling 13,573 units in August.

The Sorento R has been vying to be the bestselling car in the mid-sized CUV segment in the American market with Ford Motor’s Edge and Toyota’s RAV4.

The company also enjoyed steady growth of other major models, posting sales of 6,885 units for the Soul, 6,677 units for the Forte and 6,157 units for the K5 (dubbed Optima in overseas markets).

Kia’s affiliate Hyundai Motor reported 21 percent growth in sales between January and August compared to last year, with 439,824 units.

In August, Hyundai’s sales inched up 9 percent from a year earlier with sales of 58,505 units.

Hyundai and Kia recently captured about 15 percent of the U.S. automotive market.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)
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