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The Kia Carnival is Australia’s clear favourite when it comes to people movers, accounting for almost 60 per cent of all minivans sold in this country, but it faces two new threats that could impact its sales domination – the semi-conductor shortage and the all-new Hyundai Staria.
Up to August, Kia had sold 4162 Carnivals, compared to just 814 Honda Odysseys, 728 Volkswagen Multivans and just 332 Hyundai iMax’. However, Kia Australia head of product planning, Roland Rivero, admits the on-going microchip shortage could limit supply in the final months of the year.
“We’re in a little bit of hurt because we’re supply constrained,” he said.
In an incident that highlights the highly-specific nature of the semi-conductor shortage, Mr Rivero explained that Kia is struggling to get the chip that controls the power tailgate, which means the high-grade Carnival SLi and Platinum are primarily impacted.
He revealed that while dealers are able to take deposits from customers for the range-topping Carnivals, they cannot currently order them from the factory, so the wait time for delivery could be up to three months.
The other challenger to the Carnival’s domination of the people mover market is the closely-related Hyundai Staria.
The futuristic-looking eight-seater is a major departure from its predecessor, the iMax. Instead of converting a commercial van into a people mover, as it did with the iMax/iLoad, Hyundai has developed the Staria as a people mover first and commercial van second, which should help bring it closer to the Carnival in terms of dynamics and interior finish.
In fact, the Staria is built on the same shared Hyundai-Kia platform as the Carnival, as well as the Santa Fe and Sorento SUVs from the respective brands. So, it represents a chance for Hyundai to close the gap on its sibling brand, assuming buyers embrace the Staria and its unique and quirky appearance.
The two size up similarly on price, albeit with the Kia holding the advantage.
Pricing for the Staria begins at $48,500 before on-road costs for the petrol-powered option, which compares to $46,880 for the Carnival with the same 3.5-litre V6 engine.
The 2.2-litre diesel models start at $51,500 for Hyundai and $48,880 for the Kia, but the range-topping Staria Highlander 2.2D is $66,500 compared to $66,680 for the Carnival Platinum with the same engine.
It could be a case of sibling rivalry in the people mover sales race in the coming months and years.