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Kia Picanto isn't going anywhere! Kia Australia doubles down on Mitsubishi Mirage and Fiat 500 rival in shrinking segment

Nearly all of the Picanto's rivals have been axed, but Kia's tiniest car will be around for a lot longer, the brand says.

Kia Australia has confirmed that its tiny Picanto hatch will be staying in its local line-up for a long time yet, even though the micro segment it competes in has almost evaporated completely. 

When the Kia Picanto was introduced to Australia in 2016, the micro segment was already shrinking dramatically as buyers moved into SUVs

Seven models duking it out in 2015 went down to five the following year. Gone was the Volkswagen Up!. Gone as well was the Smart FourTwo, Fiat Panda, Suzuki Alto and Chery J1. That left the Holden Spark, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Micra, Suzuki Celerio and Fiat 500 to fight over the buyers who still wanted a car that was officially smaller than small.

 Now the micro segment consists of just three models: the 500, the Mirage and Picanto. But that will some become two, with Mitsubishi having already announced the Mirage has been axed.

Kia Australia’s chief operating officer, Damian Meredith, said the Picanto won’t disappear like the Mirage. 

“The Picanto isn’t going anywhere. We’re going to continue to sell Picanto,” he said.

The Picanto’s starting price of $15,990 (MSRP) makes it the most affordable Kia model and also the cheapest new car in Australia. 

Kia’s most expensive model is the hybrid version of its Sorento large SUV, but even its list price of $80,330 will soon be eclipsed by the upcoming EV6 all-electric hatch, which is expected to nudge the $100K mark.

Since 2016, the design of Kia’s models has marched further toward a more premium look and feel.

Mr Meredith is confident, however, that his brand can successfully sell cars in Australia at both the budget and more premium ends.

"I think that we will continually sell cars from $20K to 100K,” he said.

“We want to be able to sell that breadth of product exceptionally well. That’s more beneficial than saying we’re going to be a prestige brand.”

It was always going to be a risk bringing the Picanto into a market that was already shrinking, but Mr Meredith is proud of what the model has achieved.

“All of us worked really hard with Picanto. It was a risk at the time, but we all knew it could offer something to the brand and it could offer something to the marketplace, and it’s done that exceptionally well,” he said.

In 2021, Kia sold 6591 Picantos. In comparison, Kia sold 1407 Kia Stingers last year, 5644 Rios and 5126 Sorentos.