Loaded Optima targeting Mondeo market share

Loaded Optima targeting Mondeo market share

Kia New Zealand boss Todd McDonald is focussed on taking market share from the Ford Mondeo in the mid-size sedan segment with the all-new JF series Optima sedan.

The 2016 JF Optima is all-new bar the carry-over 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, but there’s a good reason Kia New Zealand didn’t opt for a newer 2-litre direct injection turbocharged unit on offer in other export markets.

McDonald told AutoTalk that he decided to retain the 138kW 2.4-litre engine rather than opt for the turbocharged unit because the older engine has a service interval that’s twice as long as the newer engine.

“This is a very price sensitive market, so offering a car with a 7500km or six-month service interval as opposed to another with a 15,000km or 12-month service interval just didn’t make sense,” says McDonald.

“The newer engine would have meant a higher retail price and a higher total cost of ownership to the buyer because of the shorter service period, so not taking it was a no-brainer really,” he says.

The previous generation of Optima saw more than 600 retail sales since its introduction in 2011.

The Ford Mondeo has recently grown its share of sales to private, and business buyers and McDonald thinks there is an opportunity to conquest those market segments with two well-specified models that offer excellent value for money and a competitive retail price and lease rate.

“We need to increase our visibility to fleets as we feel the Optima is an excellent value for money proposition with substantial residual values,” says McDonald.

“We think we have the ability to grow share in the segment, so we are aggressively pricing the car and our lease price is competitive – because we want to increase sales in 2016 and 2017,” he says.

It’s a full segment; the new Optima faces competition in the form of the Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Camry, Holden Malibu, Skoda
Octavia, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Mondeo and the Mazda6.

The Korean distributor has laid down the gauntlet with the introduction of the 2016 Optima, with two variants on offer being the EX and Limited models.

The EX with cloth upholstery is a focused fleet vehicle while targeting upper management and private buyers is the luxuriously appointed Limited variant with leather upholstery and a full glass moonroof.

Both cars offer a comprehensive list of specification features far and above that of their equivalent competitors.

The Optima EX offers autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW), Adaptive cruise control (ACC), 18-inch alloy wheels, HID headlamps, cornering lamps, high beam assist, front fog lights, navigation and a smart key.

The Optima Limited offers the same technology as the EX above but adds blind spot detection, lane change assist, the glass moonroof, ventilated front seats, tyre pressure monitoring system, wireless phone charger and navigation with a bigger screen than the EX.

The 2.4-litre GDI EX retails from $45,790 plus on-road costs, and the Limited 2.4-litre GDI sells from $48,990 plus on-road costs.

Lease rates start from $608 on a 36 month/45,000km for the EX sedan, which is very competitive according to McDonald.

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