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Can Kia overtake Ford and Mitsubishi? New Sportage, Stonic, Sorento Hybrid and e-Niro could propel brand up the sales charts

The Stonic could singlehandedly push Kia past Ford and Mitsubishi on the sales charts.

For those familiar with the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, Kia is a tortoise.

A slow and steady approach, that includes maintaining a presence in market segments abandoned by its rivals, has seen the South Korean brand make progress up the sales charts. So much so that the next brands in its path are big names – Ford and Mitsubishi.

With some critical all-new and updated models arriving in the next 12 months, there’s every indication that Kia could end 2021 in fourth place on the sales charts – behind only Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai.

But as Kia Australia chief operating officer, Damien Meredith, recently told CarsGuide, there’ll be no deliberate push to make the sales jump happen.

“It’s not a mad rush to knock those off. If it happens it will happen organically,” he said.

Organic growth seems on the cards, though. According to the latest sales data released, Kia currently sits in sixth place. But it is only 579 sales behind Mitsubishi and 1919 behind Ford.

In early 2021, Kia will add the Stonic light SUV, which will sit beneath the Seltos and give the brand a long-overdue rival to the likes of the Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Venue.

The Seltos is a prime example of Kia’s growth. Since launching late last year, it has added incremental sales to Kia’s bottom line, already more than 9000 have been sold in 2020.

If the Stonic is equally successful, albeit in the smaller Light SUV segment, it could add more than 3000 sales (which is what the Venue has done for Hyundai), which would be enough to push it past both Mitsubishi and Ford.

The other key to Kia’s growth is its decision to remain in the declining passenger car market – with a range that includes the Picanto, Rio, Cerato and Stinger – to provide a broad choice for its buyers and pick up sales from its rivals as they give up on the various segments.

Add to that the impending arrival of a new-generation Sportage and hybrid variants of the new Sorento, as well as the introduction of the e-Niro electric vehicle, there’s plenty of upside for Kia in 2021.

The Sorento Plug-In Hybrid will kick off Kia Australia’s electrification era in the first quarter of next year. The Sorento Plug-In Hybrid will kick off Kia Australia’s electrification era in the first quarter of next year.

The company will also adopt a new look, with a new logo and dealer branding also on the agenda for next year.

Then there’s the likely arrival of the long-rumoured Hyundai/Kia dual-cab ute in 2023. It is perhaps the final piece in the puzzle that could push both Korean brands even further up the sales charts.