Car News

Kia aims for market share lift

New Kia Motors Australia CEO, Damien Meredith, aims to lift Kia from 2.8% market share to 5%.

KIA MOTORS AUSTRALIA has been traveling pretty well of late, but obviously not well enough for new CEO Damien Meredith who has announced his intentions of lifting sales by more than 60% over the coming few years.

Last year’s sales of just under 30,000 units was sufficient to push Kia’s market share to 2.8% but it has plans to increase sales past 50,000 and market share above 5%.

Key to the sales increase will be the Cerato small car, Sportage compact SUV and the all-new Carnival people mover. Also coming online will be the revised Sorento SUV and Rio small car, launching within the next nine months. A new 1.6-litre Cerato entry model and a hybrid Optima mid-size sedan have also been hinted at.

Meredith suggested Kia had not been performing to its potential in Australia, especially considering its much-improved product range. He commented that the Cerato’s 11th ranking in small car sales was “unacceptable” and he would address the issue. “It deserves to be a lot better than that,” he commented and stated his objective to see each of Kia’s models in at least fifth position in their segments.

In a wide-ranging summary of his plans for Kia, Meredith said he was considering adopting an industry-leading seven year warranty, establishing its own “captive” finance division in co-operation with Hyundai Capital (replacing the existing arrangement with St George Bank) and using its Australian Open tennis sponsorship to generate more sales leads.

Mr Meredith commented that the gap between Kia and sister brand Hyundai was the largest in the world (Hyundai expects to break the 100,000 sale mark this year) and he would like to bring the sales ration closer to the 60/40 mark achieved in other markets.

Kia’s customer loyalty is growing stronger, and there is no doubt they have the products to earn a more significant share of the market. Time will tell.

Paul Murrell

Paul Murrell

Paul’s mother knew he was a car nut when, aged three, he could identify oncoming cars from their engine note alone. By 10, he had decided what his first car would be and begun negotiations with a bank to arrange finance, the first of many expensive automotive mistakes. These days, he is happy to drive other people’s cars (on the road, off the road or on the track) and write up what’s good about them and what isn’t.