Kia Australia continues — alongside other markets — to lobby its Korean parent hard to produce a full range of vans and utes, to take its sales to another level.
However, you’re not going to see anything from the fast-growing brand on that front, this side of 2020. For now, the little trucks it makes for Korea aren’t suitable for Australian regulations and tastes.
Australia has proven willing to buy Korean commercials. The Hyundai iLoad is the second most popular van on sale, after the ubiquitous Toyota HiAce, while Kia has previously had success with the budget K2700, K2900 and Pregio.
“There’s nothing on the product planning horizon to say we’ll have light commercials. I wish we did…” Kia Australia COO Damien Meredith said.
“If I could wave a magic wand and have something appear, it would be a full range of light commercials.”
When asked if Kia Australia had, alongside other key regions, been lobbying internally for KMC to hurry up and make it happen, Meredith said: “Oh yes”.
“I think the other thing is we would probably need to build a factory is Southeast Asia [where most utes are made], and to start that process, that’s a three/four year process. So time is not on our side.
“But I have great faith in the group. … I’m the eternal optimist.”
Kia Australia clearly has a ceiling on its growth – up more than 30 per cent this year, to number-nine overall in the market – without LCVs. Just like Hyundai.
Needless to say, if/when a Kia LCV does arrive, Meredith said the seven-year warranty it offers on all passenger cars and LCVs would apply.