WE'LL COMPETE WITH THE LEADERS IN THE BRANCH
Dong-Sik Suh, President of KIA Motors Corporation for Central and Eastern Europe, to the BANKER WeeklyDong-Sik Suh, President of KIA Motors Corporation for Central and Eastern Europe, was born on April 9, 1946. His career in the company began immediately after he graduated from the University of Seul in 1974. He was KIA Motors' representative in the USA, in Asia, and the Pacific region. In 2001 Dong-Sik Suh headed the company's office for Central and Eastern Europe, based in Poland. He likes to play golf in his leisure time. Marital status: married, two children. Mr. Suh, why did you decide to come back on the Bulgarian market after two years of absence?- We believe the Bulgarian market has a great potential which KIA Mototrs should not overlook. KIA and Hyundai Automobile Group have managed to regain their positions from previous years and therefore, it's only natural for us to return to Bulgaria. Distributors of other trade marks have already са gained positions on the domestic market. How do you intend to compete with their rivalry?- High quality is the key to success. All big manufacturers who enjoy good reputation rely on perfection. KIA Motors can also boast of high quality production, and this would inevitably have a positive effect on our trade mark's image. Since 2002 KIA Motors offers a 10-year warranty (10,000 miles) for the vehicles it sells in the USA. You would certainly agree that if the manufacturer is not convinced in the good quality of his products, he would never guarantee for it. Thus, quality dominates our marketing strategy. We intend to attract the Bulgarian clients in the same way.Aren't last year's low sales of Daewoo in Bulgaria a bad signal for you?- No, by no means. That company went bankrupt and its plants worldwide stopped operations. The trade mark does not exist in South Korea anymore. It is presently owned by General Motors. As far as our plans are concerned, we want to compete with the leaders in the branch and rank among the top five world producers by the year 2010, assemblying 8,000,000 vehicles annually. Would you specify your targets in Bulgaria?- Our target is clear: within two years KIA Motors Corporation and KIA Motors Bulgaria should gain a 10% market share. The production range offered by KIA id one of the richest. Our plants manufacture 18 different car makes. A few companies in the world can brag of such a variety. This is also one of the premises for extending our postions here. Were the Bulgarian car market big, it would indeed had been difficult or even impossible for us to gain a considerable share on it. But in the present situation I believe this is the most appropriate moment for coming onto the Bulgarian market by KIA Motors Bulgaria. Does that mean a 10% share in numbers?- This means approximately 2,000 car sales annually.Whate about sales under leasing contracts? Will you continue to offer such terms in the future?- We have been selling vehicles under leasing schemes since the very beginning. The leasing term has already been extended from two to four years. We'll launch the so-called operative leasing, i.e. sales without payment of an initial installment. We hope to attract corporate clients in that way. KIA's largest foreign markets are the USA, Canada and Germany. What is Eastern Europe's position in your trade plans?- The USA is our biggest market indeed. In the 1990s we were selling there 90,000 vehicles annually, and car sales reached 237,345 in 2002. We aim now to increase them to 270,000. In Central and Eastern Europe, in Turkey, Russia, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Bulgaria, annual car sales total 2,300,000. A great number of the cars are not new. In that sense the East European market is a greate challenge for us. KIA's market share in Eastern Europe is 0.7% at present, or 15,000 vehicles. Our aim is to increase it by up to 1% (30,000 cars) till the year 2005.Finally, I would like to ask you what car you drive.- At present I drive KIA's limousine Enterprise, which is not imported in Bulgaria. In the future this make will be replaced by the new Opirus luxury sedan, which will be showcased for the first time at the Auto Show in Geneva (March 3-9, 2003). The limsousine can be soon seen in Bulgaria as well.