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Kia Australia likely won’t have a proper Mazda CX-3 rival in the hot small crossover segment until 2019, the company says.

A small SUV to sit below the Sportage is a massive hole in the Korean brand’s line-up, which nevertheless is up 30 per cent (and ahead of Subaru) year-to-date.

The news that we won’t see Kia’s answer for the CX-3, Honda HR-V and Nissan Qashqai for two years or more, took us by surprise.

We’ve been seeing a camouflaged small Kia crossover testing for some time, reputedly called the Stonic.

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Confusingly, though, it seems this is a European offering that’ll have a small 1.0-litre turbo engine that the company feels is unsuitable for our market. What we get will be another offering, likely larger than the Stonic.

“There is another vehicle being developed that is a proper CX-3 competitor, which is the 2019 car,” Kia Australia communications chief Kevin Hepworth told us this week.

“Is it a hole in our line-up?” asked Kia Australia COO Damien Meredith. “Yes, definitely. We just have to overcome that in other areas to make up volume.”

Small SUV sales are slightly down this year, but still have a total market share of 9.5 per cent. In other words, one-in-ten vehicles purchased is a small SUV.

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The obvious follow-up question was whether Kia could reposition the slow-selling Soul to appeal to crossover buyers.

Meredith said an update with greater infotainment options would help, but opined that the chunky body style just doesn’t resonate with Australians, and suspected it’d remain a niche offering.

This is not the first time Kia has produced a small SUV that hasn’t come to Australia. The Niro hybrid has also been regularly ruled out.

TOP 25 BRANDS JAN-MARCH

BRAND

SALES

GROWTH

Toyota

48,514

Up 4.3 per cent

Mazda

30,462

Even

Hyundai

22,406

Down 8.2 per cent

Holden

20,119

Down 10.7 per cent

Ford

18,433

Down 1.1 per cent

Mitsubishi

18,416

Up 1.1 per cent

Nissan

15,057

Down 13.3 per cent

Volkswagen

13,735

Down 5.8 per cent

Kia

12,873

Up 34.8 per cent

Subaru

12,761

Up 8.4 per cent

Mercedes-Benz

10,400

Up 3.3 per cent

Honda

9772

Up 1.8 per cent

BMW

6330

Down 15.4 per cent

Audi

5244

Down 14.9 per cent

Suzuki

4878

Down 5.1 per cent

Isuzu Ute

4495

Down 19.9 per cent

Land Rover

3948

Down 3.5 per cent

Renault

2619

Up 9.8 per cent

Lexus

2255

Up 3.2 per cent

Jeep

1925

Down 49.2 per cent

Porsche

1442

Up 1.8 per cent

Volvo Car

1175

Down 20.8 per cent

Skoda

1097

Up 3.2 per cent

Mini

893

Down 1.7 per cent

Jaguar

820

Up 20.6 per cent

MORE: Kia news, reviews, comparisons and videos
MORE: HR-V v CX-3 v ASX v C-HR




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