SEOUL-- Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-biggest carmaker by sales, said Thursday it has added the gasoline-powered Stonic small SUV to its lineup in a move to boost sales.

Kia began sales of the Stonic gasoline SUV mated with a 1.4-liter multi-point injection engine and a six-speed automatic transmission in the domestic market Thursday, the company said in a statement. The vehicle has a price tag of 17 million won-20 million won (US$16,000-$18,000).

Kia launched the 1.6-liter diesel Stonic in July to absorb a growing demand for recreational vehicles in its home market. The crossover has been available in Europe since September, a company spokesman said by phone. The Stonic gasoline model has been added to Kia's lineup as it strives to bolster sales after suffering declines in major markets, such as China and the U.S., this year.

In the January-October period, Kia's sales in China plunged 48 percent to 255,182 vehicles from 493,695 units a year earlier. In the U.S., its sales fell 7.1 percent to 502,327 from 540,741 during the same period, according to the company.

Globally, sales numbers declined 6.6 percent to 2.24 million autos in the first 10 months from 2.40 million in the same period the previous year, it said.

Meanwhile, Kia's Stinger sports sedan has been shortlisted as one of the three finalists for the 2018 North American Car of the Year, along with Honda Motor Co.'s Accord sedan and Toyota Motor Corp.'s Camry sedan, the company said in a statement.

The Stinger becomes the sixth model of Hyundai Motor Group to be named a finalist for the award following the luxury Genesis sedan in 2009, Hyundai Motor Co.'s Sonata midsize sedan in 2011, Hyundai Motor's Avante compact in 2012, and the upgraded Genesis sedans in 2015 and 2017, the company said.

The Stinger went on sale in the domestic market in May with three engine choices -- a 2.0 turbo, a 3.3 twin-turbo and a 2.2 diesel engine -- all mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The rear-wheel-drive model is now available in the United States and Europe.

The Genesis sedan and the Avante compact won the award in 2009 and 2012, respectively.

The final results will be released at the Detroit motor show in January, it said.

Hyundai Motor and its 34 percent-owned Kia are the two major affiliates of Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales.

Source: Yonhap News Agency