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Kia’s steady climb up the Australian new car ladder continued unabated with a record March sale of 2738 units.

The stellar month, up 26.5 per cent over the same month in 2011, lifts Kia into the Top 10 new car sales list for March and for the first quarter with 7004 sales, a solid 22.1 per cent improvement over the same period last year.

“It is a very pleasing result for us and shows clearly that we are well on track to make good on our target of being Australia’s fastest-growing mainstream new car importer or manufacturer,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Tony Barlow, said.

“What is particularly satisfying is the spread of sales improvements across almost our entire model range. Cerato is showing strong growth _ something that the newly released limited edition Extra can only help, while the new award-winning Rio is also gaining good traction in a very competitive segment.

“The SUV segment is still strong with Sportage and Sorento sales continuing to grow and the growth in demand for the stylish Optima _ aided by the duel bonus of better supply and the super value of the Si model _ has been incredible with a breathtaking 244.6 per cent growth over March last year.”

Following the introduction the 3- and 4-door Rio to join the COTY winning 5-door, Rio sales for the month hit 751 for a first quarter total of 1966.

“That made Rio our best-selling model, but we are not the ‘Rio car company’ anymore,” Mr Barlow said. “With 601 Ceratos, 341 Sorentos, 339 Sportages, 193 Optimas and 338 Carnivals it is a very healthy outlook.”

Kia’s perpetual hero, the Grand Carnival, again dominated the people mover market with a 38.9 per cent share _ a whopping 23.4 per cent ahead of its nearest challenger.