Kia gunning for 500,000 sales, 800 stores in 2012

While its corporate cousins at Hyundai have recently been generating plenty of sales headlines, Kia is on its own roll. Sales in the United States are on track to top half a million units in 2012, and through the first three quarters of 2011, the Korean automaker has already topped last year's total. In fact, September was Kia's 13th straight monthly sales record, led by its best-seller, the Sorento crossover.

Kia Vice Chairman Hank Lee told Automotive News that it is adding dozens of dealers, bringing the company's U.S. retail force to about 800. Lee said Kia has spent the first half of 2011 culling 50-60 low-performing dealers and signing up new ones, with a focus on strengthening its presence in 20 key markets.

AN reports that Kia has helped some dealers move into better locations and facilities, and that about 80 dealers have agreed to build new stores. They should be able to afford it, as the brand's average monthly sales per dealer have doubled since 2008.

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