CAIRO: Having officially announced its new agent in Egypt at the Automech Akhbar El Yom car exhibition on Thursday, Kia Motors says that it seeks a share of 12 percent of the Egyptian car market.
Kevin Chung, president of Kia s regional headquarters for Middle East and Africa operations in Dubai, explains that his company s share of the market in the Middle East is approximately 7 percent to 8 percent at present, compared to Kia s goal of 4 percent of the global car market by 2010.
The market in Europe and America is fully matured, but the Middle East is growing and some potential exists, so my target is to get a minimum of 12 percent [in Egypt], Chung tells The Daily Star Egypt on the sidelines of the exhibition.
Kia cars are shipped directly from South Korea, although Chung explains that the company has a storage facility of parts in Jabal Ali Free Zone in the United Arab Emirates.
We can shorten the delivery [by shipping parts] from Jabal Ali to Egypt, says Chung.
Chung adds that Kia has no plans to produce or assemble in Egypt at the moment.
Kia selected Egyptian International Trading and Agencies Co. (EIT), a subsidiary of the Alkan Group, as its new agent in Egypt following the termination of its arrangement with the previous agent, Kia Motors Egypt.
We regret that the previous distributor didn t care much about the dealers in Egypt, but I think EIT will select them [as a dealer], says Chung.
Alkan and EIT Chairman Mohamed Nosseir also confirmed his willingness to work with the previous agent.
I would welcome him to work with me as a dealer, says Nosseir.
Kia Egypt lodged a complaint against Kia s regional headquarters in UAE courts last November, claiming the distribution agreement was terminated prematurely by the latter and demanding compensation of some $223 million for alleged lost sales, sunk advertising costs and other expenses.
Nosseir dissociated himself and his company from any dispute between the previous agent and Kia, emphasizing that he was first approached by Kia to take over as agent.
The company approached me and assured me that it has no binding commitments with anyone else in Egypt, says Nosseir. If the company has a dispute with a previous agent, then I sympathize with him (the previous agent) and I hope that he gets whatever he may rightfully deserve.
Nosseir adds that, at worst, the agency arrangement between EIT and Kia would be terminated as a consequence of the dispute with the previous agent, although he does not believe that any court or business chamber has the authority or right to do this.
My position was clear from day one: if you (Kia) did injustice to this man (the previous agent), I will walk away because it means you will do injustice to me, says Nosseir.
EIT sister company Egyptian International Motors is the agent for Renault in Egypt. Chung believes that the Kia s range of products is sufficiently different from Renault s that he does not expect competition between the two bands.
I don t see any conflict of interest between Renault and Kia products here, says Chung.
Nosseir also says that he cleared the new agency with Renault.
I spoke to Renault as soon as Kia approached me to ensure that they don t have a problem, says Nosseir.