Kia’s style focus pays off in NZ market

Kia’s style focus pays off in NZ market

Kia Motors focus on style is starting to pay dividends in the New Zealand market.

Latest figures show new models like the Kia Cerato Koup and Kia Sorento R are being purchased from Kia Motors dealerships as buyers fall for their designs as much as their value.

The arrival of the sculptured Cerato Koup has given Kia the lead in the sporty vehicle segment of the New Zealand market, outselling other 2-door vehicles like the VW Eos, Audi A5 and Nissan 370Z. In fact, the Cerato Koup has revitalised the sports segment, helping to lift sales by almost double in the first five months of 2010.

“Cerato Koup has been an outstanding success for Kia in New Zealand and, at times, we have run out of stock completely,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.

“The excellent response from customers has caused us to lift our target for Cerato Koup sales by 50% for 2010.”

Mr McDonald says the success of the Cerato Koup is vindication for the ambitious design-led strategy launched by Kia Motors to build its image. The master-stroke of that strategy was to lure Audi-VW designer Peter Schreyer to head a completely revamped design division at Kia Motors from a new, state-of-the-art styling centre in Stuttgart, staffed by talented creatives.

The man who had overseen the design of the Audi TT compact sports car and the new VW Beetle introduced a common front shape with the “tiger- nose” grille for Kia models in 2007, to distinguish Kia vehicles from others on the road.

The vehicles themselves have also been transformed, with Schreyer’s unmistakable “power of a straight line” being seen in latest models, such as the Cerato sedan and Koup and the Sorento R. It will also be seen on the next Sportage, which is due to be released in New Zealand in a few weeks.

“In the past, to buy a Kia was to make a very rational decision,” says Schreyer. “I want to create the situation where people see a Kia and want one firstly because of the way it looks, and then they discover that in addition to its great design and engineering it’s also attractively priced and has a great warranty.”

Kia’s global sales through the first five months of 2010 have increased by 38.9% year-on-year and has helped the carmaker boost first-quarter profit fourfold to US $316 million.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Kia Cerato Koup

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Kia Sorento R

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