IRVINE — Kia Motors Corp.'s U.S. unit said it will add eight Connecticut and Ohio dealerships to its 330 in the U.S. as it begins a promised move eastward in the market.
The dealerships, five in Connecticut and three in Ohio, are to open this month and will sell Kia's Sephia cars and Sportage sport-utility vehicles.
The struggling auto maker also said it's negotiating with Ford Motor Co. and other potential U.S. investors to raise $625 million in capital. Ford owns 9.39% of Kia. Mazda Motors Corp., which is 33% owned by Ford, has a 7.52% stake in Kia.
Kia's expansion follows recent devaluation of the South Korean won. Favorable exchange rates mean that South Korean companies can increase profits at home when they sell products in the United States.
Kia, which entered the U.S. car market in 1993, has dealerships in 38 states. The auto maker expects to have 500 dealerships in the 48 contiguous states by year-end. Much of that expansion is planned for New England and the Midwest.