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Cee’d wagon under consideration, says Kia

Carry that load: The Kia Cee’d could join the new Pro_cee’d GT in Kia Australia showrooms, since the company has no Cerato wagon for it to cannibalise.

Kia considers adding the Cee’d Euro wagon to its burgeoning local stocks

Kia logo20 Mar 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

KIA is considering the Cee’d wagon for Australia, potentially giving it a rival to load-lugging small-cars such as the Volkswagen Golf, Hyundai i30 and Holden Cruze.

Like the just-launched Pro_cee’d GT turbocharged three-door hot hatch, the toned-down wagon is made at Kia’s Zilina factory in Slovakia.

Should it get the green light for Australia, it would be the company’s first vehicle of this configuration sold in this market. The absence of a C-segment Cerato wagon to sell alongside the hatch and sedan here strengthens the case.

Measuring in at just under 200mm longer than the 4300mm long hatch, the Cee’d is currently available with 1.4, 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol engines, as well as 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbo-diesel units.

The path to importation of the Cee’d wagon has been made easier by Australian Design Rule regulation work already undertaken to bring the Pro_cee’d GT, and the unrelated Sportage medium SUV, to Australia.

Kia Australia has been sourcing the Series II Sportage from Slovakia since last year, principally to address supply issues it has faced with Korean-sourced cars.

“The Cee’d wagon is always a possibility for the future because there isn’t a Cerato wagon available,” said Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) PR manager Kevin Hepworth.

But the company remains keen to steer clear of the Cee’d hatchback, which is related to the similarly-sized Cerato. With the latter well established in the fiercely contested bottom end of the small-car category in Australia, the company is keen to avoid any form of sales cannibalisation.

It is understood that KMAu is waiting for a suitable automatic transmission option before it commits to more European-sourced product beyond what sits on the radar at present. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is on the horizon.

Launched in late 2006 and then completely revamped for 2013, the Cee’d hatchback was originally designed and engineered expressly for European-market consumption. In fact, Australia is the only country in the world outside that region to take the Pro_cee’d three-door derivative.

The GT version is seen as a brand-building exercise to move the brand on from the provider of affordable product into one that can also bring some sex appeal.

Along with completely different sheet-metal, one of the main differences between the Cerato and Cee’d is the rear suspension systems – the former has an inexpensive and compact torsion beam set-up while the latter uses a more sophisticated multi-link arrangement.

The Cee’d competes directly with cars such as the Ford Focus, Opel Astra, Volkswagen Golf and Renault Megane, as well as the related Hyundai i30 range.

Whether the success of the GT prompts the other more mainstream, less powerful Pro_cee’d models to enter the fray for possible importation is unclear.

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