Kia revs up in Venezuela

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CARACAS--Kia's worldwide expansion has hit Venezuela with the Korean automaker's launch of its six leading vehicle lines -- Rio, Sephia, Shuma, Carens, Carnival and Sportage.

Created by Target DDB, Caracas, a TV and print launch campaign sends a friendly challenge to motorists not to be hidebound by tradition but to "Open your mind, drive a Kia." No budget figures were released.

Commercial Director Jose Paez says Kia's launch strategy is to come in with competitive prices and a well-defined relationship of equipment, size and price. The brand expects to hold its own against main competitors Honda, Mitsubishi, and Toyota on the basis of innovation and quality. Complete after sales service, an ample stock of spare parts and a nationwide dealer network round out the Kia game plan.

Kia aspires to capture an initial 2% share of the Venezuelan market -- approximately 2,500 vehicles -- aiming to raise this to 8% in 2001.

Distribuidora Kia set up shop in Venezuela with an $8 million investment of all-Venezuelan capital and the backing of local financial institutions BBO Banco de Inversiones and Transbanca. Kia has set up headquarters in Carabobo state, center of Venezuelan manufacturing, with an assembly plant. The company now has points of sale in the country's eight major cities, including the capital, Caracas.

Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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