Kia To Stand Steady
Kia is not expecting the continuous growth its seen previoulsy. It is however, expecting to strengthen its foundations within the marketplace over the next couple of years.
The arrival of the all new Carens is due in the second quarter of this year, along with the three-door pro_ceed and the GT versions of the five and three-door cee’d.
President and chief executive officer at Kia UK Paul Philpott said: “The GT models will give us a bit of a performance edge and at 200bhp these models will deliver. I wouldn’t call them hot-hatches, they are not 250bhp, but the cars are stylish and accessible.
“Then in two years’ time we will start to refresh the whole range again so it’s all about keeping the momentum going and improving the brand awareness. The path we are on is mainstream – we are not talking about moving into premium, but making sure we can compete with Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and the French brands.”
“We may also start to look at one of two small niches where we can get a foothold.”
Philpott continued: “The B segment is very interesting right now. As people downsize this segment is accounting for 25 percent of all sales and coming up with something different on a small platform is what is happening in the industry right now because customers might want something smaller but they also want to stand out.”
A clue is the provo concept unveiled at Geneva, a small B segment vehicle based on the Rio platform and with the look of a road-legal racer. Powered by a 1.6-litre, turbo diesel plus regenerative-electric motors which can boost power by an additional 45bhp on demand. According to Kia insiders, if the sporty little number goes into production, this will not be its name in the UK.
Sales are already up 11 per cent in the first two months of this year, so indications may suggest sales may go further than Kia expect!