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Kia vows all-out efforts to strengthen exports amid COVID-19 crisis

Kia Motors President Song Ho-sung (center) checks vehicles ready for export at Pyeongtaek Port on Wednesday. (Kia Motors)
Kia Motors President Song Ho-sung (center) checks vehicles ready for export at Pyeongtaek Port on Wednesday. (Kia Motors)

Kia Motors said Thursday it is making all-out efforts to break through export woes amid the COVID-19 pandemic by enhancing online sales and services platforms for overseas customers.

In this context, Kia Motors President Song Ho-sung visited Pyeongtaek Port, the country’s main gateway for automotive exports, to check the product quality and encourage workers, the automaker said.

“The current economic situation is definitely a crisis due to COVID-19, but all divisions at Kia Motors should focus on the basics and act preemptively in the post-COVID-19 era,” Song told employees.

Pyeongtaek Port is responsible for shipping some 7,500 units of vehicles daily to 193 countries. Kia Motors only managed to export 24,000 units in April, half of the 52,000 units in the same month last year.

IHS Markit has predicted the size of the global automotive market to shrink by 22 percent on-year in 2020.

Last month, 213 out of 300 global automotive production factories shut down over COVID-19 concerns. Major dealerships in countries like Germany, the UK, France, Mexico and India have been also hit hard lately. 

To overcome the current crisis, Kia Motors said it will establish an online sales platform in overseas markets and upgrade the quality of products for export. 

The automaker said it plans to come up with customized sales programs for customer groups in different countries, starting in Europe. 

Earlier this month, Kia Motors launched a campaign and offered to delay monthly installment payments by customers, home delivery service, online test-drive reservation and vehicle sanitization service. 

From the second half of this year, Kia Motors will also conduct a test-trial on a non-contact sales service via its online sales platform in Germany. The automaker already operates such online services in India and Russia, while the service will launch in China within the first half of this year.

The automaker said it will also strengthen supply management and quality checks for models that are exported and manufactured at factories here.
According to Kia Motors, over 60 percent of its annual production of 1.5 million units of vehicles are shipped abroad. 

To boost sales of its flagship models, the automaker said it will supply them timely, and also focus on promoting its Soul EV and Niro EV in Europe where the eco-friendly models are coveted.

In the US, the automaker plans to debut the new versions of K5 and Sorento, as well as expand sales of its flagship model Telluride. 

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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