The pint-sized European-built Kia Picanto is no longer on the agenda for an Australia launch until at least 2015.
Interest in the Picanto, which had been rumoured to join Kia’s local line-up for much of the past two years, seems to have cooled, with Kia Australia waiting until the sub-light segment (Nissan Micra, Volkswagen Up!, Suzuki Alto) matures further.
“You look at that [sub-light] segment and what it’s doing in Australia and look at the complexity and cost of launching a new segment car and I think it’s got to start performing a bit better than it is now to make it [Picanto] a viable situation,” Kia Australia’s national public relations manager, Kevin Hepworth, told CarAdvice.
Australian potential for the Picanto is also fading as a result of the current model nearing the end of its lifecycle, with the next-generation Picanto expected to launch in late 2014. From this we can assume that an Australian launch of the new Picanto is unlikely to happen until early 2015.
“One of the reasons that it’s gone to the backburner is that you don’t do what Ford did and you don’t do a Kuga,” Hepworth said in reference to Ford Australia’s decision to launch the previous-generation Ford Kuga SUV less than a year before the next-generation model was due.
There is some good news for Pincato lovers, however, as Kia Australia is likely to source the pro_cee’d GT and potentially even the whole Sportage line-up from the company’s Slovakian plant, which also happens to build the Picanto. This means any future opportunity for the Picanto will be much easier to establish, given an existing relationship with the factory.
In January Australia’s sub-light segment was dominated by the Nissan Micra (620 units sold), Mitsubishi Mirage (534), Suzuki Alto (293), Holden Barina Spark (136) and Volkswagen Up! (107).
Do you think there room left for yet another model?