Kia Soul, Rondo will avoid the axe

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Kia Australia insists two of its slowest-selling models, the Rondo MPV and Soul hatch, are firmly part of its local range for the foreseeable future.

The Korean company has been pruning back its line-up of late, ditching the slow-selling Pro_Cee’d GT hot hatch late last year and the Cerato Koup range earlier this month on account of meagre sales, though it says it will launch a 'GTi' version of the next-generation 2018 Cerato five-door to offset this, eventually.

However, both of these sports vehicles outsold the Rondo and Soul in 2015, the last year all four were on sale together. Kia averaged 17 Rondo sales a month last year, and 15 Souls.

Both are down significantly again in 2016 to date, though each are regarded critically as good cars. The Rondo is one of the market’s cheapest seven-seaters, but struggles because it lacks an SUV's high driving position. The Soul’s edgy design is perhaps too polarising to get cut-through, though it has a strong core of older buyers.

2014 Kia Rondo 1

Nevertheless, Kia Australia COO Damien Meredith told us this week that neither of these models would follow the two coupes out the door.

“We are committed to both of those. If you need to grow your business, you need to be competing in quite a few segments,” he said.

“My personal view is you need to be competing in eight or nine segments to give you volume and growth potential,” he added, calling this a key reason why the company belatedly launched the Picanto city car this week.

Kia Australia sales are up more than 20 per cent this year, on the back of strong growth last year. The company will sell its annual allocation of 39,000 units, with the Sportage, Cerato, Rio and Carnival leading the way.