Money is cheap right now, with interest rates at record lows, and as such there’s plenty of finance deals on offer for new car buyers. For example, Nissan is offering zero per cent finance on a number of its models that need a few more buyers (Juke, Pulsar and Micra).
Kia Australia hasn't opted to go quite that low with its finance deal on its own slow-sellers, the Soul, Rondo and Pro_cee’d GT, but the company’s chief operating officer Damien Meredith told CarAdvice that Kia will offer more aggressive finance packages on those models.
“We want each of our cars to stand on its own two feet,” he said.
“Have we given Pro_cee’d, Soul and Rondo enough support? Probably not. If you notice that we’ve changed our communication – we’ve gone for the remainder of the year, an offer on those variants.
“Soul, Pro_cee’d, Rondo, have all gone to 1.7 per cent finance offer, and we’ll continue to do that,” he said.
There appears to be a lack of marketing and a lack of market knowledge about these three cars. The Pro_cee’d GT continually impresses, the Rondo is a quasi-hatchback with seven-seat practicality, and the Soul… well, the Soul could have been marketed as a compact SUV, but Meredith said there’s no intention to pitch the Soul to the public as an alternative to the current crop of high-riding hatchbacks.
“Not really, I think you’ve got to be up front – it wouldn't be of benefit to us to magnify something that wasn't real. You’ve got to sell it for what it is,” he said of shifting the marketing around Soul to position it as a more lifestyle-focused vehicle, a la the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3.
So has Kia done enough for these three cars to continue to exist in the market? The answer is unclear, but Meredith seemed determined to try to keep them around by other means.
“In regard to communication support, probably not. We’ll continue to push those models, what we call 'non-core' models, with a finance offer. And we’ll continue to give it some exposure. You’ve got to give the cars exposure.
“You’ve got to give the car an opportunity, you just can’t say ‘it’s not working – see you later’. You’ve got to give them an opportunity.”
The opportunity surrounding the Rondo seems clear – there are very few models on the market with seven seats that cost as little – only the Fiat Freemont, really. And the Rondo is smaller and more efficient than that model.
As for the languishing Pro_cee’d GT, Meredith made it clear that the calls for an automatic version aren’t going to come to a halt anytime soon.
“Pro_cee’d’s a pretty simple answer. If we had an auto, it’d be a completely different kettle of fish,” he said, reiterating that manual models struggle for traction in any segment of the market.
But CarAdvice understands that if the sales don’t pick up for the Pro_cee’d, there’s every chance it could be axed from the market despite an update for 2016 having been shown recently.