Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest automaker, said Monday its sales dipped 1.3 percent in January from a year ago mainly due to fewer working days brought on by the Lunar New Year holiday.
The carmaker sold a total of 257,331 units overall last month, down from 260,778 vehicles tallied a year earlier, Kia said in a statement.
Of all cars sold, sales in the home market contracted 6.2 percent on-year to 34,000 cars, while overseas sales stood at 223,331 units, a 0.5 percent dip from January 2013.
"Fewer working days to make cars and an inability to meet some overseas orders affected last month's numbers," the carmaker said. It said the drop in local production was offset in part by overseas output.
The Lunar New Year that fell on Jan. 31 was a three-day holiday in South Korea.
Despite the slight contraction, the carmaker claimed that orders for its K9 luxury sedan reached 600 since the 2014 model was unveiled on Jan. 9. The car is sold in the United States as the K900.
It added that demand for the Picanto, Forte, Optima and Sportage R models helped monthly sales figures.
Kia also said compared to December, overall production actually increased 5 percent, fueled by a 9.4 percent jump in overseas sales.
The carmaker, part of the larger Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest automotive conglomerate, said it aims to overcome challenges faced by the strong won in 2014 to build up the company's global competitiveness.
A strong won makes locally made products more expensive abroad. Coupled with the weak Japanese yen, the price advantage of local carmakers such as Kia has eroded vis-a-vis their rivals like Toyota and Honda. (Yonhap News)