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Kia Motors Australia has finished the first half of 2011 with healthy market share and positive sales growth in a market, which reported a 6.6% decrease in sales over the same period.

According to VFACTS results released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries today, the 12,836 new Kia vehicle sales for the first six months provided the company with 2.8% of total market share and a 3.3% increase in year to date sales.

In the passenger vehicle segment Kia held steady with a six month, 0.6% increase in a segment that experienced an 8.5% decline up to June 30.

Leading the charge for Kia was the Cerato with the all new hatch and sedan combining to produce a 65.6% increase in sales compared to the first six months of 2010.

Kia dominated ‘People Movers Under $55,000’ with Carnival representing 33% of the segment’s share while Rondo sales were up 22.1% for the year so far.

“We set a relatively ambitious business plan for 2011 and after the first six months everything is going according to plan,” said Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Tony Barlow.

“We anticipate much of the same for the second half with the exception of a Rio run-out making way for an all new 5-door hatchback which is scheduled to be unveiled late in the third quarter.”

In the competitive SUV sector better supply and continued customer support of Kia’s compact soft-roader, Sportage, saw it finish the first half of 2011 up 26.3%. The year to date figure was bolstered by a healthy June, which was 60.9% better than the same month last year.

Sorento’s sales growth of 1.9% for the first half helped Kia return sales growth of 15.3% in the SUV category, which reported a 12.5% reduction.