Ironically, increased demand can prove to be quite a problem for car manufacturers. Kia knows this well: despite posting a 37 percent increase in sales last year, it reckons it could have done even better if only it had the capacity to produce more vehicles.
Its all-new Optima mid-size sedan has proved to be a big hit in the U.S. in its first year, tripling its sales compared to 2010 to 84,590 units.
The Korean carmaker has already boosted its West Point plant’s annual capacity by 60,000 units, the bulk of which is expected to account for the Optima rather than the Sorento or the Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs that are also assembled in the same factory.
Kia Motors America’s vice president of sales Tom Loveless said at the Chicago Auto Show that he expect the Optima to overtake the Sorento as Kia’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S.
“We expect (the Optima and the Sorento) to account for about 50 percent of our volume here in the U.S.”, Loveless told Autonews. He added that, if despite the increased supply Kia fails to keep up with demand, then the company will import more cars from Korea.
Loveless noted that the Optima would be Kia’s third vehicle series with more than 100,000 annual sales in the U.S. this year alongside the Sorento and the Soul, which in 2011 delivered 130,235 and 102,267 units respectively.