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Kia Picanto bucking micro car trend

Pocket rocket: The Kia Picanto has helped lift sales of the micro car market for the first time since the segment was created in 2014.

Fresh Kia Picanto sales single-handedly account for micro segment growth

Kia logo12 Jul 2018

KIA’S Picanto hatchback has been the overwhelming driving force behind a resurgence in the micro car segment in the first half of 2018, with the little South Korean model lifting its sales by nearly 80 per cent from 1583 to 2830.

Overall, the segment has increased by 18.9 per cent this year, up to a 4251 unit total from 3576, with Picanto commanding a sizeable 66.6 per cent share in the micro car market against its Fiat 500 and Mitsubishi Mirage rivals.

Fiat has lifted its 500 sales by 3.8 per cent to 408 units, while the Mitsubishi Mirage is down 50.4 per cent on 447.

However, Holden’s discontinued Spark sits second in the segment with 562 sales (up 0.5 per cent), while the already terminated Fiat Panda and Suzuki Celerio have recorded one and three new registrations respectively.

 

Since the micro segment broke off from light cars in 2014 to form its own market, every year has seen a downturn in volume.

 

2014 saw a drop of 30.8 per cent, followed by 32.3 per cent slide in 2015, a 4.8 per cent drop in 2016 and 30.0 per cent decline last year.

 

From 2014 to 2017, overall micro car sales halved from 15,828 to 7142, however this year is tracking to finish with around 8500 new registrations, marking the first time the segment would grow over a 12 month period.

The third-generation Picanto went on sale in Australia last May, while the sporty-looking GT-Line grade was added to Kia’s micro hatch line-up this year in April.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the updated Sportage, Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) chief operating officer Damien Meredith said the performance of the Picanto has been a boon for the car-maker.

 

“Picanto has been a revelation in regards to how much it has grown in volume, and last month we did over 800,” he said.

 

“If you’ve got a good car and you’ve got a good proposition and a seven-year warranty (for a car that’s) $15,000, that’s pretty good.

 

“We’re pretty pleased with how it’s going, we think that we can still get more volume out of Picanto, so we’ll just wait and see.”

 

Overall Kia sales have risen by 9.1 per cent year-to-date, with the Picanto, Stinger, and updated Carnival and Cerato driving the increase.

 

The Picanto will play a role in KMAu’s growth over coming years, which Mr Meredith hopes can expand to 80,000 yearly sales with the addition of a small SUV to the range, which he hopes will arrive by the end of next year.

 

Additionally, if KMAu were to receive a light-commercial range including a one-tonne pick-up, Mr Meredith sees that figure growing beyond the 100,000 mark. For reference, Kia sold 54,737 vehicles in 2017.


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