Kia Motors has its sights set on increased growth in New Zealand as it prepares to move to a larger and more impressive headquarters. Ignoring the present economic slump, Korea’s oldest car maker is on track to establish a new base in the East Auckland suburb of Highbrook by the end of April, to provide a springboard for future expansion.
“It is a good time to be making the move because it will allow us to have everything in place once the market starts to pick up,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.
“2009 will be our busiest year in New Zealand, with several new models to be launched, including the all-new Soul city car. With our larger building, we’ll have new sales and support systems in place to help us make the most of the opportunities that will be provided by the new model activity.”
The new building, currently being fitted out in Highbrook Drive, is more than three times the size of the existing Kia base in Mt Wellington and will enable the company to house all its operations on one site, including parts, which have had to be stored elsewhere due to lack of space.
But the most interesting aspect of the new building is that it will house a retail new car sales showroom, in order to increase the exposure of Kia and serve customers in the East Auckland area.
Mr Mcdonald says the high profile position of the building is ideal for a retail showroom and it will provide Kia with the ability to continue sales and marketing strategies and gain real-time feedback from customers on site, as well as acting as a flagship facility for its dealer network.
“We have been looking to re-establish our sales presence on the eastern flank of Auckland for a while but there haven’t been any opportunities with dealerships in the area, so we decided to open our own showroom within the new premises,” he adds.
However, Mr McDonald stresses there are no plans for Kia Motors to expand into direct sales itself. The showroom itself will be staffed and run by one of Kia’s existing dealers and is seen as a one-off course of action.