Kia and Hyundai will have a dual-cab ute in Australia as early as 2022, with company executives confirming “work has begun” on a genuine Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux rival.
That’s the word from Kia Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith, who told CarsGuide that the project hadn't just been green-lit, but that work was already under way.
And it's not just Kia, with Meredith suggesting Hyundai's own ute could be arriving around the same time, saying both are expected around 2022-2023 and that the timing would be "close".
In good news for both brands, the vehicle in question is not a “lifestyle vehicle”, like the Hyundai Santa Cruz (pictured), but a fully fledged ute family that will take the fight to the heavy hitters of the dual-cab space.
"Work has begun,” says Meredith. “We’re talking about a dual-cab, a single-cab - what we’ve requested is the full gambit for the ute, and that (includes) a dual-cab with diesel and petrol (options).”
While details are thin on the ground for now, Kia in Australia has talked before about its incoming ute family, insisting the platform would be “brand new”.
And Aussie executives are bullish about its chances, confident they can capture a sizeable chunk of the Australian dual-cab market.
“When a light commercial range does arrive in Australia, I’d be confident we’d be looking around that eight to 10 per cent market share in that range,” Meredith says. “Great product, great pricing and a seven-year warranty - it’s a pretty powerful package.”
With Australia’s ute market responsible for some 210,000 sales in 2018, that would see Kia secure some 21,000 new customers with the launch of a genuine workhorse family.
In even happier news, the localisation process all Kia and Hyundai vehicles undergo before launching in Australia will apply to the new ute, too, with Meredith confirming a local suspension tuning process would take place ahead of the vehicle's launch.
“That’s part of our robust strategy - every car that enters Australia goes through that process,” he says.
Would a seven-year warranty tempt you into a Kia ute? Tell us in the comments below.