Kia Motors' sales up 17.5 pct in Aug. despite strikes

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-biggest automaker, said Monday that its sales increased 17.5 percent in August from a year earlier despite partial strikes.

Kia sold 224,247 vehicles in August, compared with 190,870 units in 2012, the company said in a statement.

For the first eight months of the year, Kia said it sold 1.88 million units, up 4.8 percent from a year ago.

The sales figure came as Kia's 30,000 unionized workers went on a partial strike on Monday to press their demand for a wage hike and other fringe benefits.

The walkout marked the fourth time that the workers downed tools since mid-August.

The union and management plan to resume negotiations on Tuesday to try to work out differences over the union's demands, which include a special bonus amounting to 30 percent of the company's net profit last year, which reached 3.8 trillion won (US$3.4 billion).

The union is also asking for a hike of 130,000 won in basic pay and a gradual extension of the retirement age up to 65, as well as free breakfast and dinner, according to the company official.

Kia's union has gone on strike every year except in 2010 and 2011 since 1999, when the country's No. 2 carmaker was taken over by Hyundai Motor Co. following the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

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