The funky little Kia Picanto is looking promising for a local launch next year with Kia Australia's COO, Tony Barlow, stating it will be a matter of timing.

As reported previously, dialogue with Kia Korea is ongoing but Kia Australia has stated its intent to bring the youth-focused light-car to the market.

With a range of new and striking product, Kia Australia has seen its market share increase noticeably in the first half of this year.

Compared with the same six month period in 2010, sales of Cerato hatch and sedan have increased by more than 66 percent. Kia Carnival still demands a 33 percent share of under $55,000 people movers whilst Rondo and Sportage sales have increased 22 percent and 26 percent respectively.

The Korean company is focusing and measuring its efforts in changing people’s perception of Kia. The company's marketing manager, Steve Watt, told the media at the local launch of the new Rio, that Kia's main driving force was no longer just price. Quoting independent research, Mr Watt said 50 percent more potential customers would now consider a Kia compared to 12 months ago.

Expect a full review of the all-new Kia Rio, when the car goes on sale early next month.