Kia hit new sales heights during 2017, as the UK market suffered a drop, with 93,222 new cars delivered to customers. UK President and Chief Executive Paul Philpott will challenge the brand’s 190 dealers to go even further in 2018 and pass the 95,000 customer mark.
Ahead of Kia’s National Dealer Conference in Liverpool, Philpott praised the Kia network for delivering record numbers of new cars to customers at a time when the overall market was shrinking. He then outlined the on-going challenges including customer confusion over the future of clean-diesel technology, further market competition including heavy incentives and the understandable reluctance of customers to spend on big-ticket items when uncertainty remains over Brexit.
He commented: “2017 has been one of the most challenging years in recent times – but thanks to the combination of excellent customer service at the dealerships, investment in new technology and products and our rock-solid reputation for reliability and quality, we have prospered when many brands have suffered.
“We must not be complacent nor must we shrink from the challenge. In 2017 we launched four all-new cars – replacements for our ever-popular Picanto and Rio ranges plus the all-new Stonic and our stunning Gran Tursimo – the Stinger – that is already creating a sensation in the press and showrooms alike. That investment in new product will not stop – so it is our joint challenge to continue to build on that product when we talk to our customers.”
Kia’s 2017 sales total of 93,222 represented an increase of 4.3 per cent over 2016 – the sixth consecutive year of record sales. The brand’s biggest seller was once again Sportage with 39,683 delivered to customers. Picanto – re-launched in its latest version in the spring attracted 13,863 customers with the The European-built cee’d ranked third with 9,225 sales and Rio and Venga completed the marque’s top five. Kia also saw its recently introduced Niro hybrid attract 4,367 customers in 2017 and with Optima boosted by the Sportswagon it reached a new record of 3,599 sales. The just-launched Stinger gran turismo does not feature in the 2017 numbers as first deliveries to customers have only commenced since 1 January.
Philpott will also outline his vision for the brand’s future in the UK – setting a long-term goal of reaching 120,000 new car sales per year – or five per cent of the current UK new car market.
He said: “Our current product range is almost entirely less than seven years old and our parent company is committed to delivering 12 new Eco products by 2025 – when I also expect us to see commercially available fuel-cell powered vehicles arriving in our showrooms.
“Undoubtedly the move towards electric will cause some customer uncertainty – not helped by confused messages over the latest clean-diesel technology – but we shall be in a very strong position to give clear advice to our customers and with our seven year warranty applying equally to this new technology we shall continue to lead the UK market.”