Once known for its cheap and cheerful small cars in the UK, the Korean manufacturer has undergone a drastic change in recent years with a string of impressive models such as the Kia Sportage and the new Kia Picanto.
Backed by styling from ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer, Kia is one of the fastest growing brands in the UK, and now boasts a burgeoning reputation, says Cole.
“Our cars are still value for money, but they now come with quality, style and technology,” he explained. “There’s more to come as well with the large Optima at the end of this year and the next generation cee’d in the C segment next year. This really is an exciting time for the brand.”
Cole explained how Kia added £2,000 to the price of a Kia Picanto when the new generation when it came out, but the vast leap forward in quality and style has seen interest surge for the city car, which has become one of the best and most affordable models on the market at just £8,000.
He said: “We have not finalised plans for 2012 but directionally we should be looking to sell more than 60,000 cars with a full year of Picanto and Rio, along with Optima and the new generation cee’d.”
This would be a big increase on 2010 figures of 56,000, but the new Kia Picanto and new Kia Rio, both launched in time for the September ’61’ plates are expected to be popular with British buyers.
The new 2012 Kia Rio, a contender in the small car market dominated by the Ford Fiesta in recent years, will start from £10,595 and comes with two diesel and two petrol engine options.