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Kia Picanto will come to Australia

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The tiny Kia Picanto will become the Korean brand's price leader in Australia.

The compact Rio is going up in size and up in price later this year, following the Hyundai i20 across the $15,000 barrier, and the Picanto will fill its value spot. An all-new Picanto will be revealed next month at the Geneva Motor Show, when Kia will also pull the covers off its next Rio.

But Kia Australia is already pushing hard to ensure the Picanto is an early arrival, even it refuses to confirm its plan. "So we are considering very seriously for the Picanto," says MK Kim, the head of Kia in Australia. "We have negotiations with KMC. Personally, I would like to bring it as soon as possible but I'm not sure when they can release that car for the Australian market.

They have to consider the volume." The Picanto was assessed and rejected several times in the past, partly because the old car was not suitable for Australia and partly because it would have done up against the Rio.

"I think this is now the right time to bring the Picanto," says Kim. "At the time, at the former price, it would not have been a big difference in the retail price. This is an all-new model in Geneva. It is built in Korea."

Kim sees a showroom advantage in the Picanto but denies it is part of any blocking move against low-priced Chinese brands, which begin to arrive in Australia later this year.

"Last year, when I visited the Beijing motor show I thought 'The Chinese are coming' and will be a big threat to Hyundai and Kia. But not right now. I think it will take four to five years. "The Chinese will be at the very bottom. Kia is looking to move up a bit in the scale."

Sales of Kia cars in Australia could top 30,000 in 2011. The company is planning for 27,000 but the 'stretch target' set by Kia chief MK Kim is based on another year of more than 20 per cent growth. "This year, personally I'm going for 30,000. Last year the market increased by 10 per cent and we were double. With this kind of trend, with good products, I do believe we can achieve 30,000 with adequate supply."

Kim says the other objective is to increase Kia's results relative to Hyundai in Australia. "Still we are under 50 per cent of Hyundai. So every time our headquarters is asking us to do at least half of Hyundai. Critical acclaim will lead people to switch between brands. Consumers are now putting our cars on their shopping list."

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 6 comments

  • Why can this car be bought for $11,000 Australian, in the U.K. Even though they have a 20% VAT tax, yet we have to pay an anticipated $15,000 with a lower tax rate of 10%. The other factor is the shipping costs would be much lower? Once again we are being ripped off. Our retail outlets are nagging because people are buying various goods from overseas via the internet..........Is it any wonder?

    phil robins of australia Posted on 11 September 2011 10:31am
  • I hope it will be priced at a lower price. Aud 15,000 is too expensive with that price you are looking at competing with Honda Jazz and other brands. smile

    Karl of Adelaide Posted on 23 June 2011 5:54pm
  • In other countries, you can buy this car for $8,990. Disappointing to see they are going to sell it for close to $15,000. A complete rip off.

    Hilal Posted on 18 June 2011 5:04pm
  • I had a Kia Picanto when I was in Indonesia. That was the first look of Picanto. Now I'm in Australia. Can't wait to see Picanto here!

    Maria Chris Posted on 26 February 2011 9:11pm
  • bring it

    david of brisbane Posted on 31 January 2011 11:11am
  • Looks not bad.

    sean t Posted on 28 January 2011 10:11pm
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