It’s not easy being small, but in motoring terms, light vehicles under $20,000 is a category that goes from strength to strength and seems to pack more value in every year. The combatants for 2011 were no different with the three favourites going in all delivering strongly in terms of safety, inclusions, driveability and value for money. That’s the main point of change for the category too. What manufacturers have been able to squeeze in to such a small package is seriously impressive. This year, it was going to be a tough fight.
Read on for more information
(SEOUL) November 9, 2011 — Kia Motors Corporation today released the first official images of its all-new Kia Ray compact vehicle, which will be sold exclusively in the company’s home market of Korea.
The Ray city car provides consumers with economical motoring and a spacious and highly versatile interior, while standing out from the crowd thanks to its striking box-type exterior design. Powertrain options will be announced closer to launch.
Taking its name from the English word meaning ‘a beam of radiant energy or light,’ Ray features a simple, modern silhouette and distinctive exterior, plus maximized interior space for both passengers and cargo.
From the front, Ray combines Kia’s signature radiator grille with unique headlamps and LED daytime running lights, creating a bold and confident appearance. In profile, Ray’s unique side glass configuration enhances the vehicle’s individualistic aesthetic appeal.
Ray’s sliding passenger side rear door not only enables easier passenger entry and exit in tight parking spaces, but also provides for a wide, unobstructed side opening for maximum cargo utility.
From the rear, Ray presents a wide and stable stance, highlighted by prominent LED rear combination lamps and vertically positioned bumper reflectors.
Shocked, delighted and thrilled was how Zillmere (Qld) mother Lainie Usher described the moment she was told that she was the winner of a sparkling new Rio SLi in Kia Motors Australia’s Tag & Win Facebook competition.
“It was amazing,” Lainie said. “I heard about the competition from some relatives and really liked the look of the car. I never seriously thought I had any chance of winning.”
Lainie was one of more than 100,000 people who went on to Kia Motors Australia’s Facebook page to “like” the new Rio and select a pixel on the car for a chance to win.
“To be honest, I had almost forgotten about the competition when I got the call to tell me I had won.”
No sooner had Lainie learned of her win than she bowed to logic and the call of the family, trading the new car in on a Kia Grand Carnival V6.
“It was really upsetting but with two young children and another due in just over two weeks the Grand Carnival makes a much more practical solution for the family.
“That doesn’t mean that I am not envious of anyone I see in the Rio. It is such a beautiful little car and I would love to be running around in it.”
Kia’s new Rio, is priced from $16,290 for the 1.4-litre manual. The 1.6-litre GDI powered 6-speed Si model starts from $18,990.
(SEOUL) November 4, 2011 — Just a couple months after its launch, the sporty Kia Picanto three-door model, available exclusively in Europe, has been honoured with the coveted iF product design award 2012. This award recognizes design quality alongside a number of other criteria, including workmanship, level of innovativeness and eco-friendliness. It is the first time that Kia has offered its popular A-segment Picanto in three-door form.
For Kia Motors this is the fourth iF product design award in three years, following prizes for the Venga B-segment MPV (2010), Sportage compact SUV (2011) and Optima mid-size sedan (2011). Additionally, the brand has won the red dot design award four times in recent years.
“Receiving the iF product design award for the new Kia Picanto is a great success for our design team and it is welcome recognition of our brand’s design oriented strategy,” said Kia’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer. “The second generation of the Picanto displays a very purposeful, self-assured design, and its sportiness is particularly underscored by the three-door version.”
The 3.6-metre long Kia Picanto boasts bold and dynamic styling, high-quality interior fittings and host of class-leading features. It is specifically aimed at discerning customers, especially the steadily increasing number of consumers who wish to ‘downsize’ and switch to a smaller car.
In most markets, Picanto is available with two highly efficient petrol engines (51kW and 63kW) which, in combination with the optional automatic stop-start ISG system, reduces CO2 emissions to as low as 95 g/km. Kia’s unique 7-year/150,000 km Warranty comes as standard on all Picanto cars sold in Western Europe countries.
A five-door bodystyle of the Picanto is available in most global markets. In Europe, the three-door version is expected to account for 36% of total Picanto sales. Through the first nine months of 2011, the Picanto (new generation and first generation combined) is one of Kia’s best-selling models globally, with 179,405 units delivered.
“We are confident that the new Picanto will redefine the small car segment by offering many features found only in larger cars, enhanced passenger comfort and increased cargo space,” said Tae-Hyun (Thomas) Oh, Senior Executive Vice-President and COO, Kia Motors Corporation. “This award for our first three-door offering in the A-segment is yet another clear indication that our efforts aimed at positioning Kia as a design-led brand are paying dividends.”
Since its launch in 1953, the iF product design award has been conferred annually and is among the world’s most important prizes for excellence in design. The award has its origins in the “Die gute Industrieform” (Good Industrial Design) product shows initiated by Hanover Messe and is now one of the world’s largest design competitions. For 2012, a total of 2,923 products were registered in 16 different categories. The Kia Picanto was honoured in the ‘Transportation Design’ category, which includes cars, ships, trains and aircraft.
The official presentation ceremony for the iF product design awards 2012 will take place on 10 February 2012 during the Munich Creative Business Week. All the winning products will be on display at the Hannover Exhibition Centre (6-10 March 2012), the iF design exhibition in Hamburg and at a subsequent iF design exhibition in Hainan, China.
(SEOUL) November 2, 2011 — Kia Motors Corporation announced today that it plans to build a third manufacturing plant in China in order to meet dramatically increasing local demand and to maintain its positive sales momentum in the Chinese market.
The signing ceremony for the investment MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to build the new Dongfeng Yueda Kia Plant 3 will be held later today in Yancheng, Jiangsu Province. The event will be attended by more than 50 Chinese government officials and Kia Motors representatives, including Hyundai Motor Group Chairman, Mong-Koo Chung. Dongfeng Yueda Kia (DYK) Motors is a 50/50 joint venture through which Kia Motors manufactures, markets and services vehicles in China.
Upon completion of the plant, which will be able to produce 300,000 units annually, Kia will have increased its production capacity in China from the current 430,000 units at its existing two plants to a total of 730,000 units per year.
Mr. Chung said, “Kia is one of the fastest growing automotive companies in the Chinese market and this would not be possible without the continuous support and cooperation from the governments and citizens of Jiangsu and Yancheng.
“With our third China plant, which we will begin constructing at the end of next year, Kia will be well-positioned to provide its growing Chinese customer base with stylish, safe, reliable and high-quality vehicles while also helping to further develop the local economy and improve people’s lifestyles,” he added.
The new plant will be located just five kilometres from Kia’s second plant in Yancheng’s Economic and Technology Development Zone. The close proximity to the existing facility will enable Kia to utilize the established infrastructure and to create synergies between the plants.
Kia plans to begin construction of the new plant at the end of next year and anticipates completion of the facility and the roll-out of production models in the second half of 2014.
Strategic models developed especially for the Chinese market to reflect local needs and preferences will be built at the new plant, but the specific models have yet to be finalized as Kia continues to study the rapidly transforming Chinese automobile market.
The city of Yanchang will be gifting 1,500,000 m2 of land to Kia and will also provide incentives such as preferential tax rates.
Kia has been one of the best performing foreign brands in China in recent years. Sales of locally-manufactured Kia vehicles reached 101,427 units in 2007, and the company posted a 40% year-on-year increase in 2008, selling 142,008 units after the second DYK plant was put into full operation.
Kia continued its strong growth in 2009, recording a 70% year-on-year increase (241,386 units sold). Last year, Kia posted further strong double-digit growth, reaching 333,028 vehicles sold for 38% year-on-year growth.
So far this year (through the end of October), sales of locally produced vehicles recorded 341,682 units thanks to the introduction of the highly competitive mid-size K5 sedan (known as ‘Optima’ in markets outside of Korea and China) and the sub-compact K2 (a localized version of the all-new Rio).
Kia is confident of reaching its 2011 China sales target for locally-produced vehicles of 430,000 units. Kia enjoyed its highest-ever monthly sales in China in September, with 43,508 vehicles delivered – including 4,001 K5 sedans and 10,478 K2 cars.
Kia’s Chinese market share has also grown dramatically over the past few years – from 2.0% in 2007 (ranking 18th in the industry) to 3.0% in 2010 (13th in the industry). Through September of this year, Kia’s market share reached 3.5%, making it a top-10 auto maker in the Chinese market.
Combined with its sister company Hyundai Motor Co., which has annual capacity in China of 720,000 units, the Group expects to reach sales of around 1,150,000 units in 2011, placing it third in the Chinese market behind VW and GM.
According to a Chinese government policy-making think tank, the State Information Center, next year’s local automotive demand will reach 12.7 million units, which is a 14.2% increase from this year’s anticipated total of 11.1 million. Annual demand is expected to increase to 17.9 million units in 2014 and to 19.6 million units in 2015.
According to these forecasts and the huge production capacity increases being made by major competitors, Kia predicted that its market share in China would drop from the current 3.5% to 2.4% in 2014 if it only operated two plants.
During his visit to Yancheng, Mr. Chung inspected the existing DYK plants to check the quality process of Kia’s new models such as K5 and K2. He commented, “We need to be very active in terms of meeting growing consumer demand in order to maintain our current positive momentum. However, it is also essential that we further increase the emotional appeal of our products and raise our brand awareness in conjunction with establishing a strong local production system.”
“The Chinese market has been the key focus for many global automakers, and this trend has resulted in Chinese customers demanding better cars. So it’s imperative that we capture the hearts of our Chinese customers by giving them an unsurpassed ownership experience.”
LAS VEGAS, November 1, 2011 – Coming off two historic motorsports championships in the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSSC), Kia Motors America (KMA) has announced plans to increase its racing footprint next year. KMA chose the SEMA Show to reveal its next step with a stunning 2012 5-door Rio B-Spec racer built by Kia’s racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports, to compete in the newly established showroom stock racing class next year. Not content with that, Kia has also revealed a specially-outfitted Optima Hybrid built by GoGoGear.com to lead the field as the official pace car of the United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC), a role previously filled by the funky Soul urban passenger vehicle since 2010.
“The Kia Racing program is just two years old, but with the Street Tuner Team and Driver championships already under our belt we are excited to expand to new forms of racing,” vice-president marketing and communications for KMA, Michael Sprague, said. “The B-Spec series is a great way for grassroots racers and Kia enthusiasts to get involved in motorsports and experience the outstanding driving dynamics and class-leading horsepower the all-new Rio 5-door subcompact has to offer.
“In addition to B-spec, we’re also pleased to continue our relationship with the USTCC. The sporty and fuel efficient Optima Hybrid safety car built by GoGoGear.com is sure to turn heads and continue raising awareness, perception and consideration for the brand with passionate enthusiasts.”
The Rio 5-door B-Spec racecar will compete against a variety of subcompact competitors such as the Mazda2, Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta in a range of motorsports events sanctioned by various organizing bodies, including World Challenge, GRAND-AM, Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Auto Sport Association (NASA).
Showroom stock racing provides an affordable avenue for auto enthusiasts to participate in the excitement of competitive motorsports with a vehicle like the all-new 2012 Rio 5-door that is fun to drive, fuel efficient and stylish.
Once potential racers purchase their 2012 Rio 5-door, a B-Spec kit that costs $US14,000 is available for purchase from Kia’s racing partner, Kinetic Motorsports, that includes everything needed to transform the 2012 Rio 5-door into a proper racecar: roll cage kit, racing seat, quick-release steering wheel, racing harness, race shocks, lightweight wheels, spec-series tires, oil sump pan expansion kit and complete build instructions.
As an option, the racer can have the team at Kinetic Motorsports assemble the Rio at their shop in Buford, Georgia for an additional $US6000.
GoGoGear.com USTCC Optima Hybrid Pace CarKia Racing has proven its mettle on the race track as a competitor, but the brand is no stranger to pace car duty either – the Kia Soul has been the official Safety Car of the USTCC since March 2010 and a 2011 Optima SX served as the official pace car for both the Rolex Sports Car Series “Grand Prix of Miami” and CTSCC races earlier this year at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
For 2012, the stylish and fuel-efficient Optima Hybrid replaces the Soul at the front of the USTCC pack and will lead the field during warm-up and caution flag laps to ensure a safe start or restart of a race.
Already noted for delivering class-leading fuel economy,the crew at GoGoGear.com have added a free-flow air intake system, Magnaflow® exhaust system, coil-over suspension kit to lower the ride height, front splitter and rear wing, lightweight wheels and performance tyres that will better stick to the racing surface.
The USTCC Optima Hybrid also features an eye-catching exterior with a custom colour scheme, series graphics and an array of lighting, including LED auxiliary lights and HID headlights, strobe lights and LED light bar on the roof to help direct traffic while on duty.
Moving inside, a state-of-the-art, 2400-watt audio and video system is connected to Infinity®3 speakers and amplifiers and rear passengers can enjoy a DVD system with dual monitors in the front-seat headrests with wireless headphones. Adding to the Optima Hybrid’s newfound raciness are custom leather seats with green stitching to match the exterior trim colour. The Optima Hybrid Safety Car is scheduled to make its first USTCC appearance in March, 2012.
Kia Motors Australia has added promising young NSW fast bowler Nic Bills to its Ambassador program.
Bills, a 19-year-old pace bowler who plays his Grade cricket with North Sydney, has enjoyed a meteoric rise from school cricketer to a rookie contract with NSW within the space of two seasons.
“It has been a pretty exciting ride so far, but there is still a way to go and I know that means a lot more hard work,” Bills said. “I am very pleased to be associated with Kia who _ in their own way _ are also on a fast-track rise.”
Both Bills and Kia are reaping the rewards of a focus on hard work and performance in fields of endeavour in which there is no shortage of competitor talent.
“Supporting Nic is an excellent opportunity for Kia to build a relationship with a young and talented sportsman who understands the challenge of being the new boy on the block,” Kia Motors Australia President and CEO Mk Kim said.
“Like Nic, Kia is a relative newcomer to our area of competition and, again like Nic, we are enjoying the rewards of hard work and careful planning with the growing popularity of the Kia brand.”
Bills, who only started playing cricket about five years ago to keep up with his mates at the prestigious King’s School in Sydney, quickly came under the notice of school coach and former Australian Test player Trevor Chappell.
His rise within the school competition was quickly matched by that in senior competition where he broke into the North Sydney First Grade side and with a season return of 47 wickets at 15.83 came to the notice of the NSW selectors.
Bills played in three Futures League matches where, he took seven wickets with a best of 4-36 before making his First Class debut against Western Australia at the SCG in March, 2011.
This season Bills has also been contracted to the Sydney Thunder in the 20/20 Big Bash League where he will share duties with Australian players David Warner, Doug Bollinger, Philip Hughes and Usman Khawaja along with West Indies legend, Chris Gayle.
Essendon Football Club is pleased to announce Kia Motors Australia as the club’s new co-major partner for the next five years.
Essendon Chairman David Evans said the new partnership is believed to be one of the largest co-major partnerships in AFL history as well as one of the largest individual sponsorships in Australian sport.
“We are genuinely excited by the alignment of two great teams – from both a commercial and brand perspective” Mr Evans said.
“Kia is committed to delivering a progressive and innovative product, and these attributes are parallel to our values at the Essendon Football Club.
“Essendon is as committed to achieving success off the field as it is on it and by partnering with a like-minded organisation such as Kia, we believe we can deliver mutually beneficial outcomes that will allow both brands to continue to grow their presence nationally.”
Kia Motors Australia President and CEO Mr MK Kim said the partnership would allow Kia to grow its reputation as a long-standing innovative brand.
“Like Essendon Football Club, Kia is a brand built around youthful excitement and the willingness to compete,” Mr Kim said.
“As Korea’s oldest automotive manufacturer we understand the value of history and we are excited about our new relationship with one of the longest-standing teams in Australian sport.”
The new alignment will see the Kia logo alternate between the front and back of the Essendon guernsey during home and away games. Co-major partner True Value Solar will be displayed on the alternate side of the guernsey.
In addition to brand exposure benefits, the partnership will also provide Kia with unique access to Essendon’s estimated supporter base of over one million fans nationally and almost 300,000 unique database contacts – the largest in Australian club sport.
Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Tony Barlow said Kia was delighted to add its support to an Australian institution that brings genuine excitement and joy into the lives of everyday Australians.
“Essendon and Kia are two organisations entering a very exciting period. Both are brands on the way up – just one of the synergies that we believe makes this relationship a perfect match,” Mr Barlow said.
“Australian Football, Aussie Rules or simply ‘footy’ to the millions of passionate fans who follow the games every winter weekend is part of the fabric of Australian culture.
“Within that fabric Essendon Football Club is a binding element traced back to the very beginnings of the sport. Kia’s association with Australia is not as long, but it is no less passionate nor any less committed.”
Kia Motors Australia support everyday Australians across a number of initiatives including donations and sponsorships of institutions such as the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Meals on Wheels, SIDS and Kids and the Kia Motorvation safe driving initiative.
Globally, Kia Motors are proud to support some of the world’s largest sporting organisations and events including the FIFA World Cup and the National Basketball Association. Locally many would recognise Kia Motors as the major partner of the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam tournament.
Kia has shrugged off the challenge of a contracting new car market to maintain its sales momentum and retain a Top 10 position for September, according to official figures released by VFACTS.
For the second month in a row and the third time for the year Kia has underscored the brand’s growing desirability by claiming a Top 10 laurel with a 2.6 per cent market share.
“It is very pleasing and a clear indication that despite the many challenges facing the automotive industry, Kia continues to perform ahead of the game,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Tony Barlow, said.
“There were highlights for the month – Cerato’s continued growth, Carnival’s perennial domination of the people mover segment and a stellar month for Sorento – but there were indications of opportunities in other areas as well.”
Cerato sales, helped by the growing popularity of the 5-door hatch, jumped 145.2 per cent over September last year and maintained an 82 per cent growth rate for the year to date.
Carnival, driven by a pair of new engines, continued its domination of the under $55,000 segment with a 37.8 per cent share of the market while the compact Kia Rondo, winner of the recent Wheels Gold Star Award, is enjoying a renewal of interest with a 164.7 per cent jump on September last year and a 32.7 per cent year to date growth.
However, the star for Kia in September was the lauded Sorento in the Medium SUV segment. With a 6.1 per cent market share in one of the most hotly-contested segments the Sorento enjoyed a 196.5 per cent increase over September 2010 and maintained an impressive 27.5 per cent growth rate in 2011.