The compact SUV segment, despite ever more competition, shows no sign of slowing down in Australia – and now Kia has confirmed the arrival of its new Stonic compact SUV for the fourth quarter of 2020.
The Stonic, as mentioned in our 2020 sales projection story, will fill a void in the Kia line-up to take on the likes of Mazda's Mazda 2-based SUV, the CX-3. As you'd expect, Kia Australia is pretty excited about the compact SUV – based on the Rio hatch – arriving locally to further bolster its impressive sales figures.
Roland Rivera, General Manager for Kia Product, is particularly looking forward to the arrival of the compact Stonic.
"There is an emerging light SUV segment and we see a real opportunity to take a slice of it," said Rivero. "It shares a platform with Rio, and is dimensionally similar to a Mazda CX-3. Positioning it between Cerato and Seltos, is the sweet spot as we see it."
“Dimensionally the Stonic is similar to a CX-3 as well. There’s a clear step there as you go from Stonic to Seltos, to Sportage, which will grow in the new generation - and then to Sorento, which will complete our SUV line-up," Rivera said.
Kia has bucked the trend that has afflicted many car companies locally in that sales of its passenger cars have not taken a huge dent in comparison to burgeoning SUV sales. In fact, Kia has been particularly strong at both.
As such, it will be interesting to see what happens when Stonic arrives in Australia and whether the compact SUV entrant affects sales of the Cerato.
"We'll have Stonic last quarter of this year obviously," said Damien Meredith, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Australia. "Seltos supply is tight, and that might have affected some sales. In our planning, we kept a price plateau for it, which wasn’t affected with Cerato below it and Sportage above.
"We thought there might be a small effect on Cerato sales, but there was none, and there’s only been a 10 percent effect on Sportage."
Those comments reflect the fact that Kia has managed to keep passenger car sales ticking along nicely, while still filling the various SUV segments in which it competes. Kia won't give final details on pricing until closer to launch, but CarAdvice expects pricing to start in the low $20,000 region – sharp and certainly competitive in its segment.
Rivero was keen to emphasise the fact that pricing is vital at this end of the market and in this segment. “Position-wise, we’re looking at – again – between Cerato and Seltos, that’s a nice sweet spot we can take advantage of. Profitability-wise, Stonic is also a good car for us and for the dealer network,” Rivero said.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for full pricing and specification closer to launch this year.