Kia had a few chaps in for a quiet lunch to discuss the state of the nation:
K900- an excellent product and much awarded but no plans to bring it here as the sales of sister brand Hyundai’s Genesis has been slow with only 256 units being sold since release. 65K for a Hyundai is a big ask. That’s a shame because from the pics and reviews K900 is pretty good.
Soul- small SUV-style car whose sales have been slow but not below the expected number. This style of vehicle has been slow to catch on in Australia VW Up! Is one example that, although a very good car, was simply too expensive in our market. New models in the form of Picanto, the city car should broaden the appeal of the brand and hopefully won’t suffer the same fate as Up! Part of the problem with VW was the price so Kia will be making sure the price remains entry level.
Pro Ceed GT- slow sales attributed to a manual-only option. A DSG-style auto is in the pipeline and can’t come soon enough if the model is to survive. 90% of cars sold in Australia are automatic and the decision not to include an older type auto was a calculated risk that has not paid off so far. We watch this space for further news.
Kia’s 7 year warranty is intended to give buyers a sense of security and that includes second hand buyers as the warranty is fully transferable. Kia says your costs into the future are important and being able to plan make car ownership doable.
Kia struggles to shrug off its cheap-and-cheerful reputation which it worked so hard to gain. Once this was true with their offerings being entry level and rather low tech. Current models have sharp styling but Kia have been keen to keep prices competitive.
COO Damien Meredith is at pains to point out that Kia’s growth is planned and measured but if the sub3% market share suddenly rose to 10% he would not be displeased. Damien said as well as value to car buyers, he is keen to ensure dealers have a good business model from which to draw. He cited the 7 year warranty as one of a raft of changes the company has planned to add both value and desirability.
With the new Sorento launched recently, the quality of the Kia brand is steadily growing. With the steady decline of stalwarts Holden and Ford, the Australian market has changed dramatically over the last decade. Sorrento has electric rack mounted power steering as well as 7 seats and a full suite of safety and convenience options.
Kia’s sister brand Hyundai currently stands at 10% of the Australian market so the future looks bright for South Korean car makers.
Above: Picanto. Below: Soul 2016