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Why Kia's fresh logo marks the start of a new era - with Sorento Plug-In Hybrid and e-Niro to build on Sportage and Cerato

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

Kia recently debuted a new, more sophisticated logo, and it comes at the perfect time for the South Korean brand. After five years of growth, Kia is now established as one of this country’s most popular mainstream car brands, so a new look helps shed the last vestiges of its former ‘cheap and cheerful’ image.

In 2014, Kia sat 14th on the sales charts, but in 2020 it’s currently in sixth place and within striking distance of both Ford and Mitsubishi ahead of it. That growth has come off the back of better-quality vehicles that are both nicer to drive and look at – plus the security of a seven-year warranty.

But in 2021, Kia is moving into a new era with its first electrified models arriving in the form of the Sorento Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid, with plans for the all-electric e-Niro and production version of the Imagine Concept also on the agenda in the near future.

For Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith, the new logo and subsequent dealership redesigns come at the ideal time to capitalise on the brand’s recent success.

“It means a fair bit to us in giving us a more youthful image,” he told CarsGuide. “It will be a more modern look. I think our vehicle development has been ahead of our corporate identification development.”

Mr Meredith added: “It adds another arrow to what we want to do in Australia. It’s come at the right time for us.”

Kia's new logo. (image credit: Motor1) Kia's new logo. (image credit: Motor1)

As previously reported by CarsGuide, Kia Australia has confirmed that the Sorento Plug-In Hybrid and conventional Hybrid will arrive in the new-look local showrooms from the first quarter of 2021.

Mr Meredith said the e-Niro remains on the local wish list, but supply is currently restricted to markets with higher EV demand and government incentives.

However, an all-electric Kia is a priority for the local operation, with the production version of the Imagine Concept (which also debuted the new logo) set to be available in Australia by later next year or early in 2022. It will feature Hyundai Group’s new ‘E-GMP’ electric vehicle (EV) platform and should boast a driving range of about 500km.

The Imagine by Kia concept previews the South Korean brand's idea of an electric future. The Imagine by Kia concept previews the South Korean brand's idea of an electric future.

Mr Meredith said Kia Australia is ready for EVs, having already begun getting their dealership prepared with charging outlets as well as servicing and sales training for the past 18 months. He said 43 of the country’s 135 dealerships have already installed charging points ahead of the Sorento Plug-In Hybrid arriving ahead of its Hybrid by a few months.

With the updated Cerato small car due by in the first half of 2021 as well as the impending arrival of an all-new Sportage (on the same platform as the new Hyundai Tucson) in the second half, Kia should be confident of rising even further on the sales charts.

The e-Niro will be Kia’s first all-electric crossover SUV. The e-Niro will be Kia’s first all-electric crossover SUV.

As of the September 2020 data provided by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Kia is only about 1200 units behind fourth-placed Mitsubishi. But Mr Meredith isn’t worried about Kia rising any further in a hurry.

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