Furthermore, research indicates that prospective buyers are more interested in the brand’s designs than its prices — a paradigm shift for the brand.
“The major reason people buy our product now is warranty, price has slipped to third,” said Kia Australia COO Damien Meredith. Clearly, the reassurance and resale benefits are hitting home.
“Second is how our cars look. That has changed dramatically over a three-year period of time,” he added, saying that the company had made a conscious step to emphasise this factor rather than just “price, price, price” as it once did.
Whatever Kia Australia is doing, it’s working. Sales are up 27 per cent this year and on track to hit 42,500 units annually. This year so far, its sales have eclipsed Honda.
As you’d expect, given market trends, most of this growth is coming from SUVs. The new Sportage is up 42 per cent to 9101 units, while the larger Sorento (with an average transaction price north of $50,000) is up 30 per cent to 3469.
Also performing well are the Cerato small car, bucking a segment trend to grow 27 per cent to 11,012 units. Additionally, the Carnival remains easily Australia’s top people-mover, with 4055 sales (up 41 per cent).
It’ll likely be an even bigger year again for Kia in 2017, with the company’s management setting an internal target of 48,000 annual sales.
New arrivals such as the next-generation Rio (pictured above) in January and Picanto in April will help, while the mysterious GT rear-drive sport sedan is expected here around September — though the company itself is giving nothing away.