Kia has exported its 10 millionth vehicle from South Korea with the shipment of an Optima sedan from Pyeontaek port to the US.
The milestone vehicle was carried to the US by Eukor Car Carriers as part of a shipment of 6,000 vehicles due to make a further call in South America.
A celebration ceremony was held at Pyeontaek port attended by some 400 guests including Kia Motors vice chairman and CEO Hyoung-Keun Lee, local government officials and a number foreign dignitaries stationed in Korea.
Speaking at the ceremony, Lee said: “Today’s accomplishment would not have been possible without our loyal customers and hard working Kia employees around the world.”
Kia’s export revenue last year hit $11.2 billion, representing 2.4% of all South Korean exports, an increase that enabled Kia to surpass the 2m unit global sales mark in 2010 for the first time in company history and attain global market share of 3%. That figure helped the country as a whole record a surplus in automotive related trade with US in 2011. Exports of vehicles and parts to the US rose 24% year on year according to the country’s trade ministry, a surplus of $10.8 billion.
Continued growth in the short term for Kia is unlikely to be affected as badly by the supply problems facing carmakers around the world that are cutting output in the wake of the Japanese earthquake. Kia does not depend on Japanese suppliers to the same extent, with the majority of direct parts being sourced from South Korea, but as is becoming clear, parts such as microcontrollers used in electronic components are causing tier suppliers to suspend production and this could also affect Kia and fellow South Korean carmakers.
It is true that we have a very low dependency ratio on Japanese suppliers in terms of direct parts,” confirmed a Kia spokesperson, “but we are investigating what kind of impact we expect going forward.”