News - Kia
Kia sets 39,000 sales target for 2016
Future star: A production version of the Niro concept is likely to be offered in Australia in the coming years, and Kia has high hopes for it Down Under.
More growth expected for Kia in 2016, thanks to fresh product, consistent marketing
26 January 2016
KIA has announced a target of 39,000 units in Australia this year, a number it
expects to achieve on the back of important new-model launches, consistent
marketing and ongoing improvements to its customer and after-sales service.
The South Korean car-maker had a record year in 2015, shifting 33,736 units or
20.5 per cent more than its 2014 haul and toppling its previous best sales
result of 30,758 in 2012.
Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) chief operating officer Damien Meredith confirmed
the new sales target at the 2016 Sportage launch last week and detailed the
products that will help the company achieve its goals.
“This year we expect to do 39,000,” he told journalists in Ballarat. “Now that
is a lift of 15.6 per cent. Saying that in volume terms, the measure of lifting
to 39,000 is less than the extra cars we sold in 2015 so we are relatively
confident that the 15.6 per cent lift will be gained by new entries.
“Obviously Sportage, Picanto in a few months time and then a pretty major
uplift in regards to Cerato. From a product point of view there is a lot
The sales increase will bring Kia's overall market share from its 2015 high of
2.9 per cent to “just a bit over 3.5 per cent”, according to Mr Meredith, who
has previously stated that the car-maker wanted to reach 50,000 annual sales
and a 5.0 per cent market share in the coming years.
“We believe it will be another growing, good, consistent year for Kia in
Mr Meredith added that he did not expect Kia to crack the top 10 with its
expected 39,000-unit haul in 2016.
Left: KMAu chief operating officer Damien
“We finished 12th last year. We think we will be around about 11th or 12th
again after 2016. We don’t really set ourselves the ultimate goal of top 10. We
want to grow the brand, grow the volume in a very set, orderly manner and we
have started that journey. We intend to keep on going.
“If it happens, great. It’s not something that we consume ourselves with. What
we consume ourselves with is growing the business in an orderly fashion.”
Last year Kia missed out on a top-10 placing by about 7000 units, with
Mercedes-Benz keeping it bay in 11th spot with 36,374 sales and Honda holding
on to 10th place with 40,100 units.
Mr Meredith said KMAu was pleased with its placing in the JD Power Customer
Service Index rankings where it rose from ninth place in 2014 to fourth overall
in 2015 to leapfrog Subaru and sister brand Hyundai, and added that the company
would continue to focus on and strengthen after-sales service levels.
“Another thing that we will continue to focus on will be our consistent
marketing. Focusing on product rather than price. That has been in play now for
over 18 months. We believe with the quality of the product we have got we can
continue down that pathway.”
While the updated Cerato, new Picanto and fourth-generation Sportage will help
lift volumes in 2016, a full year of Sorento, Carnival and Optima are also
likely to help.
Although it has not been officially locked in for Australia, the forthcoming
Niro compact SUV will also help, and while it is unclear when it will arrive,
Mr Meredith said he would like it here the “sooner the better”.
“It is in the plan, it is on the wish-list, we have just got to get it.”
Kia has so far only announced hybrid drivetrains for the Niro, but GoAuto
understands more traditional internal combustion units will also be offered.
Asked whether coming late to the segment would make a difference to consumers,
Mr Meredith said he thinks “it always makes a difference”.
“I think it is always great to be ahead of the curve. With that segment I don’t
think we were but we have just got to focus on what we have got and optimise
our opportunities there and we are pretty confident we can continually grow the
business in an orderly manner.”
Mr Meredith said he thinks it would be possible to achieve similar sales
numbers for the Niro as the instantly popular Honda HR-V and Mazda's CX-3, but
it would depend on the overall package.
“If you put together a package of great product, great spec and competitive
pricing I think you can do those numbers. We moved Cerato from 11th to sixth in
the small-car segment by focusing on the product. And some pretty smart
advertising and putting together a good sales package.
“Bear in mind sales are up 44 per cent with Cerato and the market was down
about five per cent. You can do it, you just … the planets have to align.”
In their first year on sale the CX-3 found 12,656 homes and the HR-V sold
10,899 units, ensuring they were the third and fourth best-selling models in
the competitive small-SUV segment.
Despite the Carnival people-mover receiving a disappointing four-star ANCAP
crash safety rating at the start of 2014, Mr Meredith said the result has had
little impact on sales.
“It’s 35 per cent of the people-mover market. Which is the leader of the
people-mover market by a long way. Humbly, we haven’t had any problem with the
four star. I mean four star, five star are safe cars. That's one thing we need
to make pretty clear.
“The second thing, Carnival is such a compelling package, that it was always
going to be dominant in the people-mover market and that is what has happened.
It has been very good for us.”
The Carnival lost vital points for not offering a second-row seatbelt warning
buzzer, as well as “significant footwell deformation” in the frontal offset
test, Mr Meredith said a fix is about a month away from being finalised before
ANCAP can re-test the car.
Mr Meredith said Kia's sponsorship of the Australian Open tennis championship –
now in its 15th year – has a positive impact on the brand and on sales,
particularly in Melbourne where a large and highly visible fleet of Carnivals
and Sorentos ferry players and officials around during the tournament.
“In Melbourne during the Australian Open our floor traffic is always up,” he
“What you have to do is take advantage of that. Those cars are very visible in
Melbourne metropolitan. Obviously we advertise because we have got to protect
our investment in the Australian Open and we always do a localised campaign in
Melbourne which at the moment is an accessory program for $777 worth of free
Kia uses the number seven heavily in special deals to highlight the seven-year
unlimited kilometre warranty, seven years of roadside assistance and seven
years of capped-price servicing.