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Kia catches a wave

Carnival kicks on: The seven-seater Carnival will gain a facelift and 3.5-litre engine in the second half of 2002.

Kia puts faith in a flood of new products to continue its sales growth

18 Jun 2001

KIA is plotting a "new wave of products" in the second half of 2002 in a bid to continue its trend of sales growth.

The South Korean car-maker has already launched four new models in the past 12 months - Carens, Rio, Optima and Spectra - taking its sales from 5603 in 1999 to 9888 last year.

Its growth spurt has continued this year with 4914 sales until the end of May, compared with 3201 for the same period in 2000.

A Kia insider says a facelifted Carnival, due in the second half of 2002, will be the next key addition to the range.

Apart from a host of cosmetic upgrades, the seven-seater will gain a 3.5-litre V6 engine. It is currently powered by a 2.5-litre V6, which struggles a bit with a full complement of passengers.

Kia's line-up will also be supplemented next year by a "new, as yet unnamed SUV to sit above the Sportage".

Sources suggest it will be priced in the low $30,000s to take on the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe.

"It looks like a tall sports wagon. You could think of it as a Korean BMW X5," an insider said.

Meanwhile, the Sportage will come in for a facelift next year to maintain its appeal in the highly competitive compact off-roader segment.

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