Kia Motors Shows Profit in Q4

New models, weak currency helps

South Korea's second largest automaker Kia Motors said on Jan. 22 it turned to a profit in the final quarter of 2008 thanks to the popularity of new models and a weak won.

Kia reported net profit of 74.8 billion won (US$54.7 million) in the October-December period, reversing a net loss of 22.1 billion won in the previous quarter. The figure was almost double the 37.9 billion won net profit in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Kia's 2008 full-year sales rose to 16.4 trillion won from 15.9 trillion won a year earlier. Annual net profit was 113.8 billion won, up from 13.6 billion won in 2007.

Its 2008 operating profit stood at 308.5 billion won, turning around from an operating loss of 55.4 billion won in 2007.

"Despite the economic crisis, Kia Motors was able to reap both an operating and a net profit last year, thanks to the brisk sales of new models and the weaker won," the company said.

Kia is an affiliate of Hyundai Motor. The two companies form the Hyundai Automotive Group, the world's fifth largest carmaker.

Kia announced it will push forward with a plan to start production of two to three models at its plant in Georgia from December this year as planned.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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