The Kia Pro_cee'd GT may soon become more desirable to considerably more car shoppers, as the brand has confirmed plans to add a dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
Jurgen Grimm, head of powertrain development for Hyundai Motor Europe (encompassing both Hyundai and Kia brands), told CarAdvice at the 2014 Paris motor show that a pair of dual-clutch transmissions (DCTs) would be rolled out in 2015, and indicated that the Pro_cee’d GT is one of the cars that could receive a new self-shifting 'box.
“The seven-speed DCT … we will introduce two versions,” Grimm said. “One is for the gasoline applications, that means it ends up in a torque range of 270Nm, something like that; and we have also developed one for our diesel version, that ends up in the torque range 320-330Nm.”
Those figures fit the outputs of the 1.6-litre Pro_cee'd GT, which produces 150kW and 265Nm from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The car is currently only sold with a six-speed manual 'box.
Grimm said the new transmissions are a must for Europe, given that they help lower CO2 emissions.
“We will have a complete rollout for the complete platform,” he said. “That means it will come for the Cee’d (and Pro_cee’d GT), it will come for the Optima, it will come even for the smaller cars like the Rio.
“So for the European market we don’t think that we need a standard torque converter operated automatic transmission. Because the focus is that much on CO2, and therefore the DCT from its CO2 benefit is unbeatable.
“It will start next year. So next year we will see it in various types of cars, in both brands,” he said, indicating sister company Hyundai could use the tech in its new-generation models.
Kia Australia’s general manager of media and corporate communications, Kevin Hepworth, said a rollout of the DCT can’t come soon enough for the brand’s sole hot-hatch model.
“Sales at the moment are running at about 35 a month. We would anticipate over 100 if we had an automatic, especially a DCT. There’s no doubt at all that the lack of an automatic is costing us considerable sales in that car. It’s just a fact of life in Australia,” he said.
“We have had instances of dealers saying that people who had come in to look at the GT have gone across, because it didn’t have an automatic, to the Cerato Koup. I think there is a lot of potential for that car with an automatic.”
The Pro_cee’d GT isn’t available with such a transmission due to its European focus, where manual remains the gearbox of choice for the majority of hatchbacks.
“It was never designed to have an automatic gearbox. People in Europe don’t want automatics with those cars.
“It simply wasn’t available, and the opportunity to get the car was so exciting, and so out of left field, that we had to do it,” he said of the six-speed manual Pro_cee’d GT.
There’s a question over whether 35 units per month will be enough to sustain the Pro_cee’d GT in Australia over the longer term, and Hepworth said he hoped that the manual-only model will hold on rather than die out due to lack of demand.
“I would hope not,” he said of the potential for the Pro_cee’d GT to be axed over its slow sales. “I think there would be a very strong fight against that, because it is such a highly regarded car. It’s probably the one halo car that’s in the Kia range at the moment.”