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Kia Soul's hamster commercials win acclaim, boost sales
SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- Kia Motors Corp.'s commercials starring dancing hamsters have won widespread acclaim in the U.S., boosting sales of its Soul compact in the American market, industry sources said Thursday.

   The commercials that first aired in 2009 earned the Goody Award by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and won the Automotive Ad of the Year at the Nielsen Automotive Advertising Awards for two consecutive years.

   In addition, the latest commercial to promote the 2012 Soul was the most viewed of the top 10 automobile ads picked by Motor Trend magazine with millions people viewing the trio of hamsters singing and dancing in the past few months.

   The three commercials, all made by the David & Goliath advertisement agency, have also become popular in video-sharing sites like YouTube.

   Buoyed by the popularity of the commercials, Kia, South Korea's second largest carmaker, said annual sales of its Soul five-door hatchback will likely exceed the 100,000 mark for the first time this year.

   In the first 11 months of 2011, sales of the vehicle reached 92,643 units. If the 100,000 number can be reached, it will be the second Kia model to surpass the 100,000 mark after the mid-size crossover Sorento R sports utility vehicle.

   Industry sources, meanwhile, said that Kia has made impressive strides in recent years with attractive warranties, improved quality and styling, and has become a respected car brand in the large North American market.

   yonngong@yna.co.kr
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