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Kia Cerato sales jump 55 per cent

Advertising standards: Kia's successful Cerato quality-advertising approach will be applied to its other big-hitters, but the slower-selling models will need a different angle, the company says.

Shifting advertising focus from price to quality boosts Kia Cerato sales

10 Jun 2015

KIA Motors Australia’s strategy of highlighting the quality and styling of its vehicles rather than pricing is already producing results, with the company's most recent marketing efforts pumping up Cerato sales by more than half.

Twelve months ago the South Korean car-maker was finding homes for about 500 Ceratos per month after a dip in April 2014 to just 384 sales, but a year on and registrations are nudging the magic 1000 mark, with 948 units moved in May.

While the company has historically focused on price and affordability, a fresh marketing approach that applies a more equal focus on value and quality is resonating well with Australian customers, according to Kia.

With continuing interest from existing and new customers alike, Kia is predicting its annual local sales tally will swell from the 28,000 it recorded last year to 31,000 this year and on to a total of 50,000 by 2020.

Speaking at the launch of the new Sorento in Queensland last week, Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) chief operating officer Damien Meredith said the rapid increase of Cerato sales was not exclusively linked to price, and future advertising would focus less on the bottom line.

“We haven’t put a price point on a TVC (television commercial) for over 12 months apart from a seven-day sale in March,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone wants to purchase the cheapest car in the land. What they want to have is value and the quality.

“We will have two sale events a year and that’s it, because we believe the consumer needs to understand how good the product is, and whilst it’s only a short time, the growth has been there and the strategy is working.”

Mr Meredith explained how a carefully a crafted campaign highlighting media and customer opinions, combined with sharp pricing had produced the desired result.

“Firstly we put together a strong communications program and new TVC which was basically testimonial from the media, we’ve now changed that to comments from our customers,” he said. “Thirdly we put together a very strong retail program with regards to price-pointing $19,990 plus free auto. It’s worked magnificently.

“I think you guys (media) jumped on the value and quality of Cerato long before the consumer did. Now we are engaging the customer a lot better, getting that message across and it’s on the shopping list.”

Following the strong customer response, a similar formula will be applied to its other core models, however, for more niche segments, a different approach would be necessary with an alternative promotional campaign starting next month.

“I think you’ll see that with our main core products Rio, Cerato and to a degree Sportage, yes. In regards to our others, we’ve got another strategy in place for those. It will be in market first of July.”

Unlike the popular Rio, Cerato and Sportage, not all Kia models are faring so well in the Australian marketplace, but Mr Meredith said in recent months the company's focus had been on the mainstream models and it would turn its attention to the smaller sellers next.

“I think product lifecycle has a lot to do with it but we are going to get a program together for all our non-core products Rondo, Pro_cee’d, that family of cars,” he said.

“Run it out consistently, not chop and change, get that into the marketplace and hopefully that will give us the volume we require for those vehicles.

“It would be fair to say that our focus has been on the major players to get that volume up and to get confidence in ourselves, dealers and marketplace.”“You’re only as good as your last kick in this business.”

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