March 10, 2015 / 9:49 AM / 4 years ago

Kia Motors says to start selling cars in Mexico in July

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s Kia Motors (000270.KS) will begin selling cars in Mexico in July, tapping a growing market before it commences production at its first plant there next year.

Kia Motors, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor (005380.KS), plans to bring the Forte compact from Korea to Mexico, while selling U.S.-made Sorento sport utility vehicle (SUV) and Europe-manufactured Sportage SUV in Mexico, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

Hyundai Motor last year launched car sales in Mexico, selling the Sonata, Elantra and Tucson and i10.

Mexico, the second-largest car market in Latin America, is expected to grow 3 percent to 1.16 million vehicles this year, from 2014, and to continue steady growth until 2020, according to forecast by IHS Automotive.

Automakers making cars in Mexico are exempt from a 20 percent import tariff within 10 percent of their local output, according to Korean newspaper Maeil Business Newspaper.

Kia’s Mexico plant will start production in the first half of next year, helping cater to demand in the neighboring U.S. market where its sole factory is running at full capacity.

Kia plans initially to produce the Forte compact and Rio subcompact at the plant, people close to the talks told Reuters at that time.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Sunil Nair

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