The South Korean brand of Kia, part of the Hyundai Group, arrived in the UK in 1991 and after several years establishing the brand they have recorded consecutive record years of sales since 2010, explains David Miles.
They have tripled sales since 2007 and last year their record UK new car sales grew by 13.86% to reach an all-time high of 89,364 registrations.
For the first five months of this year their sales are up again by 12.5% in a UK market down by 0.56%. So far they have sold 42,678 new cars, well on course to meet their target of 91,000 registrations.
The UK is currently Kia’s largest market in Europe and the fourth largest in the World after South Korea, China and the USA.
Kia has just introduced their new Picanto City Car range and this year they expect the range to achieve 14,000 sales, almost 1,000 more than last year.
The Picanto is Kia’s second highest selling model after their highly popular Sportage mid-sized SUV which last year achieved 42,000 sales, making it the market leader in the 4×4/SUV sector.
The Cee’d family of mid-sized hatchbacks and estates is their third best selling range with 11,000 sales followed by the new Rio ‘supermini’ sized hatchbacks with over 9,000 sales..
Their current line-up also includes the Soul Crossover/MPV, Venga MPV, Carens large MPV, Optima saloon and SW estates and the Sorento large seven-seat SUV.
Steve Kitson, Corporate Communications Director, said new models to be added to their line-up in the near future will be a PHEV plug-in hybrid version of the Optima SW estate, a GT version with a 2.0-litre T-GDI turbo petrol engine and a new version of the Soul electric model with a longer driving range of 150 miles.
Just announced is their Stonic compact B-segment SUV, a stylish and technically advanced competitor for the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Vauxhall Mokka and which will arrive in October.
The Kia Stinger range flagship five door sports saloon will be introduced in November with deliveries starting in January 2018 he said.
Mr Kitson added that currently the brand has 188 dealers in the UK and over the next three to four years this could expand to around 200 sales and service outlets as they are looking for more outlets in major towns and cities.
He added that currently 54% of their overall UK sales are to retail customers with an equal split between female and male owners and 52% of buyers opt for a diesel powered models but that is driven by demand for their SUVs.
He also added that 84% of their new cars are bought by customers using some sort of finance plan ranging from PCPs to HP options. He has also seen a drop in the age of their customers; they are now in their high 40s, some 10 years younger than in the earlier year of UK sales.
Moving on to the new Picanto, with prices starting from £9,450, he added that overall the new models see an average £300 price increase across the line-up but this is reflected in the fact that it is an all-new model with a totally new platform and stiffer bodyshell, its more refined with a better driving experience, sharper handling, a more comfortable ride and the cars now have the latest safety, driver assistance and connectivity functions.