Kia Motors' new compact SUV, the Sportage, which was unveiled in Korea on August 17, recorded domestic sales of 6,727 units on the very first day in dealer showrooms. Put into perspective, this figure equals 32.4% of all domestic SUV sales in the previous month of July. The Korean automaker predicts that the Sportage will be a record-setting domestic model based on these initial figures.

Compared to other recently significant SUV releases in the Korean market, the Sportage's first day sales are indeed impressive, with the Ssangyong Rodius, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Tuscon selling 5,962 units, 5,050 units, 4,166 units, respectively, on their first day of sales.

Due to this extraordinary instant success, Kia has raised its domestic August sales target to more than 15,000 units. For the remainder of 2004, Kia's domestic sales target has been adjusted upward to more than 20,000 units.

As further evidence of the overwhelming popularity of this long-awaited model, more than 200,000 people gathered for new car road shows that were held at 23 major locations around Korea on August 18. Also, Kia Motors' domestic website crashed temporarily due to some 1.2 million visitors (more than 40 times the average number of daily visitors) searching for Sportage information.

According to Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive Vice President and COO of the International Business Division, "This tremendous domestic debut is a great indicator of things to come in overseas markets. The Sportage ideally suits our image of being exciting and enabling and we expect the new Sportage will surpass the great success of its predecessor."