Michael Cole, managing director of Kia UK, has confirmed the new Kia Rio has been designed with Europe in mind, with more dramatic styling to separate it from the previous generation.
He explained: "Historically the car has been a little bland and has not done too well for us but the new car is much more dynamic and ‘European’ and I hope it will do for us in the B segment what cee’d did in the C sector.”
The Kia cee’d has largely been a success for the Korean manufacturer in the UK because it offers something different in a hatchback market dominated by the likes of the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
The cee’d is a budget model offering strong levels of equipment and low running costs matched to a modest starting price. It’s budget credentials were confirmed when BBC’s Top Gear named the car as its ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ in the ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ segment, which has featured Hollywood A-listers Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz amongst others.
The introduction of the new Kia Rio, alongside a new Kia Picanto, updated Kia cee’d and all-new Kia Optima saloon, Cole says Kia is aiming to slightly increase sales in 2011 to 57,000 models in the UK despite an expected dip in new car sales overall.
Cole believes a young, modern range will encourage buyers to move towards the brand, which has shed its budget image in recent years thanks to a range of attractive cars such as the Sportage and Soul crossovers.
He said: “Our volumes are going to grow significantly with the new models we have coming – by 2013 Kia Soul will be the oldest vehicle in our line-up.”