Kia appears to be hitting its stride in Australia in 2015, given its annual growth rate of almost 20 per cent, or five times the market-wide figure. It was up 36 per cent in November alone.
The Korean brand, which has been garnering critical respect for a number of years now, has nevertheless stagnated in sales over the past few years while sister company Hyundai has boomed.
While the market as a whole has grown, Kia sales dropped from 30,758 in 2012, to 29,778 units in 2013 and 28,005 units in 2014 — barely a quarter of Hyundai’s total, compared with the ratio in many markets of about 40:60.
But this year we’ve seen a renewal. Kia sales for the first 11 months of the year sit at 31,205 units, 5000 more than the same time in 2014. It’s already beaten its best effort, in other words.
Across the board, Kia vehicles are growing well. New-generation versions of the Carnival and Sorento this year have helped, with growth of 116.5 per cent (to 3330 units) and 23 per cent (to 2945 units) respectively.
Keen pricing ($19,990 driveaway with a free automatic) on the Cerato has seen that small-car offering grow almost 60 per cent to 9567 units (still only one-third that of the Hyundai i30) while the now-runout Sportage is also up, by 19.2 per cent to 7023 units.
The reasons for the growth are multi-faceted, according to Kia Australia’s communications chief Kevin Hepworth.
Consistent factory campaigns are an obvious reason, while the introduction of Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty and roadside assist package in October 2014 has had a “major impact on consideration”.
Kia’s battle was always getting on the shortlist. This growth has also potentially seen its multi-franchise dealers give Kia more resources.
Next year should see the brand continue its upward march. It has just launched the new-generation Optima, while in January the brand new Sportage arrives, and in March the new Picanto arrives — though as we know, micro car sales are struggling.
What do you make of Kia’s sales growth this year after a few lean-ish years?