The new-generation 2018 Kia Cerato will make its way to Australia by the middle of next year, the company has confirmed. We'll see the new sedan body here first, to be followed by the hatch later in the year.
The new model will be a more advanced offering than before, with a more upmarket feel and the latest safety systems.
Speaking with media in Melbourne this week, Kia's local Chief Operations Officer, Damien Meredith, said we can expect a high level of safety from the entry grade up.
"I think you'll find there'll be [high] safety spec at the entry level, and connectivity right through the range." Asked if that safety suite would include autonomous emergency braking (AEB) at base level, Meredith said: "Yeah, we're pretty confident of that."
Spy photos of the new Kia Cerato have yet to surface, although Europe's new Kia Cee'd - essentially a more premium version of the Cerato, designed to satisfy what must be a more sophisticated palate those of we Australians and Americans - has been caught in camouflage a number of times (above).
This could suggest that, this time around, the new generations of both cars will be one and the same.
At October's launch of the updated Sorento, Meredith told CarAdvice that we can expect the new Cerato and Cee'd to be much closer in concept.
"They'll be a little bit different," Meredith said, acknowledging that the previous models wore distinctly unique designs. "[but] I think they'll be more closely aligned this time."
"I think what the brand's trying to do in western Europe [with Cee'd] is a little different," he added, but would not offer more on the topic.
Meredith said the current Cerato has been a success for the brand. "We've been aggressive with it, but it's worked very well for us."
Above: the recently revealed Kia Proceed concept
Meredith expects to move 20,000 Ceratos by the end of the year - although that number may prove a little too ambitious. The small car has actually been the brand's biggest mover in 2017, but it finished October with 15,977 sales year-to-date, selling 1306 that month. If the big 20,000 is out of reach, though, it should at least be a close one.
Flash to the present, in Melbourne this week, Meredith said the brand doesn't intend to follow Hyundai into swearing off price-leader starting points.
"Do we want a sub-$20,000 car in the new range, yes we do," he said.
"It'll be a good package, we're pretty confident. Our biggest fight - it's not a fight, that's the wrong word - but what we have to do is make sure that as a brand in Australia, we work hard to get the right pricing in for our product and our brand. It's as simple as that."
Watch for the new Cerato to make its global debut in the months ahead.
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