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Kia Motors' 2010 net profit, sales hit records

A customer watches a KIA Motors' sedan K7 at a showroom in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Kia Motors says annual net profit and sales surged to all-time highs last year as it sold a record number of vehicles. A customer watches a KIA Motors' sedan K7 at a showroom in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Kia Motors says annual net profit and sales surged to all-time highs last year as it sold a record number of vehicles. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
By Kelly Olsen
AP Business Writer / January 28, 2011

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SEOUL, South Korea—Kia Motors said annual net profit and sales surged to all-time highs last year as it sold a record number of vehicles amid strong gains in China, Europe and the United States.

Kia, maker of the Sorento crossover, earned 2.25 trillion won ($2.02 billion) in 2010, the company announced Friday. That was a gain of 55 percent from 1.45 trillion won the year before.

Revenue rose 26 percent to 23.3 trillion won. Global sales volume increased 39 percent to 2.13 million vehicles.

The annual net profit, revenue and vehicle sales figures were all Kia's best ever, said company spokeswoman Pamela Munoz. Operating profit was also a record, she said.

Kia Motors, an affiliate of South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co., is the country's second-biggest automaker. Hyundai and Kia together form the world's fifth-largest automotive group.

For the final three months of the year, Kia said net profit rose 4.6 percent to 631.4 billion won, while sales increased 21 percent to 6.94 trillion won. Kia's highest quarterly profit ever of 666.6 billion won came in the third quarter of last year.

Kia said that sales of vehicles produced at its overseas factories surged 86 percent to 730,000 in 2010. Sales in China, the world's biggest auto market, rose 38 percent, while sales in Europe gained 53 percent, the company said. Kia sold 167,000 vehicles made at its U.S. plant in West Point, Georgia, which opened late in 2009.

Exports of vehicles made at factories in South Korea rose 26 percent to 917,000 for the full year. Domestic sales, meanwhile, gained 18 percent to 483,000 vehicles.

Shares in Kia Motors fell 3.1 percent to close Friday at 57,300 won. The company's stock price surged 152 percent in 2009.

Kia's results came a day after Hyundai said net profit jumped 48 percent in the fourth quarter to a record high 1.4 trillion won, boosted by strong overseas sales. Hyundai's annual net profit and sales also rose to record highs.

Hyundai also sold a record 3.61 million vehicles in 2010.

(This version CORRECTS figure to 666.6 billion won from trillion in 6th paragraph.)