While General Motors and Ford Motor Co. cut back on sales to rental car fleets, Kia sees it as a good way to introduce the Korean brand to the car-buying public, Automotive News reports.
For the first time, Kia is also launching a program to reach out to the commercial fleet buyers. The five-year program was announced to dealers at the Kia annual dealer meeting in November in Las Vegas.
Kia's fleet sales are up sharply this year, from 16.8 percent in the first nine months of 2006 to 21.1 percent in the same period this year. The percentages are calculated using retail registrations obtained from R.L. Polk & Co.
Polk recorded retail registrations of 184,592 from January through September of 2006. Kia reported total sales of 221,998 for the same period, meaning 16.8 percent of the sales were fleet or otherwise.
For the first nine months of 2007, Polk recorded 183,089 retail sales compared with Kia's total sales of 232,043, or 21.1 percent nonretail.
According to Automotive News, Kia has not set a volume target for its commercial fleet program.