Kia Motors Corp. loaded its 10 millionth vehicle to be exported at the Pyeongtaek Port in Gyeonggi Province on Thursday.
The vehicle, a K5 midsized sedan, will be shipped to the U.S.
“Today’s achievement was made possible by the efforts of Kia employees and the affection shown by the customers,” Kia vice chairman Lee Hyung-keun said at the ceremony marking the event.
The company’s exports began with 10 Brisa pickup trucks shipped to Qatar in 1975. In the following year Kia began shipping vehicles to Asian and European markets.
In 1977, Kia began exporting to Latin American nations.
While the North American market was the last for the company to enter, the region accounts for the largest part of Kia’s exports.
Kia first began shipping vehicles to North America in 1986, but the market accounts for 42.7 percent of the company’s accumulated exports.
Kia Motors Corp. and government officials including Kia vice chairman Lee Hyung-keun (fifth from right) and Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo (fifth from left) pose with the 10 millionth Kia vehicle to be shipped abroad at the Pyeongtaek Port in Gyeonggi Province on Thursday. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)
In the following year, Kia’s exports grew at a measured rate, reaching 1 million in 1995, 20 years after the first shipment of cars.
Since the mid-2000s, however, the pace picked up significantly with half of the 10 million having been exported since March 2005.
In addition, its annual sales have increased at a much higher rate than the global demand in recent years, the company said.
According to Kia, its annual sales rose at an average rate of 12 percent per year since 2004, while the global market increased at an average annual rate of 1.9 percent.
In terms of value, the company’s exports grew by more than 100-fold from the $100 million recorded in 1987 to come in at $11.2 billion in 2010, which according to the carmaker is about 2.4 percent of Korea’s overall exports.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com