Steep sourcing costs, long expected wait times and relatively modest sales projections combined to knock on the head any hope Kia Australia may sell the new ProCeed wagon.
We expected as much, but this week the company’s local arm made the decision more official, claiming to us that by the time it had ticked all the requisite boxes getting the niche offer here, it would have commanded a price point well above $40,000 to be profitable.
Such a projected price point made what was already a pretty low-volume proposition even less tenable. Thus it’ll join a growing line of cars sold by Kia Europe yet not locally – a list that also includes the Optima wagon, Stonic and Niro crossovers, and Ceed hatch.
The second-generation ProCeed is a significant departure from its (term used loosely) ‘predecessor’, the weirdly named Pro_Cee’d. That car was a three-door hatchback/coupe, whereas this one is a low-roofed wagon billed by its maker as a Shooting Brake.
The ProCeed was designed and engineered in Europe, and will be made there, at Kia’s sprawling Slovakia plant. Brand followers may note that the old Pro_Cee’d was also made there, yet came to Australia (and sold in tiny numbers, due to being manual-only).
Kia Australia claims that one difference is that back then it was also importing the Sportage out of Europe, meaning it had cut a more competitive shipping deal by leveraging scale.
This, plus the fact Australians buy bugger-all wagons, sealed the new model’s fate. Let’s not forget a lot of small-volume players import cars out of Europe, so clearly this fact plays a big role as well.
The company is loathe to offer low-volume offerings, which complicate its supply chain and dilute its marketing.
“It came back simply too expensive,” Kia Australia told us.
“It was borderline to start with because of the difference of getting them out of Europe. Supply lines were very long, it takes a long time, and for a single model…
“ProCeed GT would never be a volume model… and it’s no more performance-oriented than we expect the Cerato GT to be,” it added, referring to the 150kW hot hatch due to arrive by March 2019 to fight its Hyundai i30 SR parts-partner.
Kia ProCeed details
The new model made its premiere this week at the Paris motor show, ahead of its market launch in Europe in early 2019.
With three-door sales falling off a cliff, it made a nod to practicality, with the design you see in the pictures that speak for themselves.
Kia Europe’s head design Gregory Guillaume said that while market trends meant the old body style had to die, “it was equally inconceivable that we would simply kill [it] off. It embodies all Kia's values of youthful dynamism, of emotional engagement, and of design-led desirability”.
Well, it represents those things on one continent…
It’s a practical little thing, with a 594-litre boot and 40:20:40 folding back seats. That’s despite using bulkier rear multi-link suspension.
While built around the same suspension system as the Ceed, it’s more stiffly sprung, having been overseen by Hyundai N head engineer, and ex-BMW M Division chief, Albert Biermann.
Fitting this, the GT version uses the familiar 1.6-litre turbo engine with 150kW/265Nm, matched with a seven-speed double-clutch auto.