Kia has become one of the fastest growing car companies in the United States with 2011 finishing up as an all-time sales record year for the Korean carmaker.

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It only took the fast moving car company less than nine months to surpass its best ever annual sales total, which meant that full year sales over 2011 hit the record number of 485,492 units, smashing its previous record.

Kia’s December sales alone were 43,390 units, representing a 42.5 increase on the same period in 2010. Better than that though, the company achieved 16 straight monthly sales records, giving it a year-on-year sales increase of 36.3 per cent, which outstripped the automotive industry by a sizeable margin.

Kia Motors America can thank a successful new product program over the last three years that kicked off with the ‘Soul’ and hasn’t looked back since. The re-styled Kia ‘Optima’ has also been an overwhelming success with sales tripling from 2010 with a total of 84,590 units. Sorento has also performed well, and combined with all other vehicles in the model range, has lifted Kia’s market share to 3.8 per cent of the total US car market.

Kia Motors Australia has also had its own share of success with 2011 sales totalling 25,128 new cars. That represents a 5.4 per cent increase year-on-year in an overall market that was down by 2.6 per cent, over the same period.

Kia Chief Operating Officer, Mr Tony Barlow, said “In what was a challenging year the outcome is in line with our forecasts and aligned with the business plan for the year”.