Koreans move to fourth place in global manufacturer ranking

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Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, has become the fourth largest global automotive manufacturer, according to data just published.
Based on figures from the Automotive News Data Centre, the Korean manufacturer has overtaken Ford which saw its sales fall by more than 30 per cent in the first half of 2009, selling 8,000 more vehicles than the US giant in the first half of 2009.
Results for all of last year saw Hyundai-Kia trail Ford by around 1,000,000-units, but by reducing the impact of the global recession by producing the right product for the right times, the group has managed to take fourth place much quicker than had been predicted.

Go back just 10 years and the newly unified company was in 11th place overall, but rapid globalisation has seen state of the art factories being built in several countries including Slovakia, the United States and China. The manufacturing facilities have been geared-up to build products that are designed and engineered for local markets. The Kia cee’d is a leading example, being designed, developed and engineered in Germany and built in Slovakia.
Global Sales – first half of 2009

Manufacturer    H1 2009    H1 2008    % change
1    Toyota    3,564,105    4,815,442    -26.0
2    General Motors    3,552,722    4,541,125    -21.8
3    Volkswagen    3,100,300    3,265,200    -5.1
4    Hyundai-Kia    2,153,000    –
5    Ford    2,145,000    3,093,000    -30.6
6    PSA Peugeot-Citroen    1,586,900    1,844,700    -14.0
7    Honda    1,586,000    2,022,000    -21.6
8    Nissan    1,545,976    2,013,611    -23.2
9    Suzuki    1,152,000    1,283,000    -10.2
10    Renault    1,106,989    1,326,164    -16.5

Modern, powerful styling with a clear dynamic look differentiates the all-new seven-seater Kia Sorento that makes its European debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

New Sorento is longer and lower than the current model and incorporates Kia’s new design DNA into its ‘stand-out’ looks, while featuring a much more spacious and luxurious cabin. The 4,685 mm long SUV is also significantly sleeker than the previous model with an aerodynamic drag figure of Cd 0.38 – down from 0.43.

The most popular engine choice in Europe is expected to be the all-new 2.2-litre diesel unit from Kia’s ultra-modern ‘R’ family of engines. This highly competitive unit produces 197 ps and 421 Nm of torque, and will be offered with either a six-speed manual or Kia’s all-new world-class six-speed automatic transmission.

“With the new Kia Sorento, we have created an all-new, ‘Highline Cruiser’ that we believe offers buyers the benefits of an exciting all-rounder with a much broader appeal,” commented Panu Vainamo, General Manager Marketing, Kia Motors Europe. “Kia engineers have ditched the original Sorento’s body-on-frame structure and designed an all-new monocoque bodyshell – achieving a weight loss of up to 215 kg, greatly improving fuel economy and contributing to a more controlled ride than expected from a 4×4.”

The new Sorento’s ride and handling balance has been biased more towards on-road sophistication but without ignoring the original model’s renowned off-road talents. High-tech features will include keyless entry, an engine start button, in-mirror reversing camera and a panoramic glass sunroof.