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Kia seeks engine boost

Power play: Kia’s European-made Pro_cee’d GT will expand the local turbo-petrol engine line-up to two.

More diesel, turbo petrol engines on the wishlist for Kia in Australia

Kia logo23 Jan 2014


KIA is eying more diesel and high-performance turbo petrol models for Australia as it looks to expand the customer appeal of its local range.

The South Korean car importer currently has just one turbo petrol model – the Cerato Koup Turbo that was launched last year – and four diesel variants, in Soul, Carnival, Sportage and Sorrento.

The upcoming European-made Pro_cee’d GT will add another high-performance turbo petrol string to the Kia bow in Australia, but the just-released Optima facelift has missed out on a similar 2.0T excitement powertrain that is offered in the United States.

The mid-sized Optima also has no diesel in the current line-up, even though Hyundai’s related i40 offers a 100kW 1.7-litre diesel alongside a 2.0-litre petrol engine.

But Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) chief operating office Tony Barlow has not ruled out more diesels in the local range.

“There are some diesel models that we are investigating at the moment, in various models, but nothing short-term will come through on those,” he said.

Mr Barlow indicated that Kia had plenty of new-model action going on behind the scenes, ready to be rolled out over the next few years.

“There are a growing number of things out there becoming available in the Kia world, and those are getting a lot of traction,” he said. “The R&D (research and development) is kicking in to play.

“There are a lot of things that we are seeing come through that we have put our hand up for, although it does not mean that we are going to get them, but we continue to lobby for them.”

One of these products most likely is the proposed rear-drive GT4 Stinger 2+2 coupe that is expected to go into production in about three years.

Mr Barlow said his company had registered its desire for the turbo-charged petrol Optima that currently is only available in North America, saying such a model would help Optima “to stand out a little more”.

“While I think the car is stunning in its design and performance as it is already, a turbo engine would be something to once again push it forward,” he said.

Apart from having to go into battle to get new model variants, Kia distributors frequently have to fight for sufficient stock to sell, with the parent company deliberately keeping company growth on a steady growth trajectory.

Mr Barlow said: “Demand in our organisation is very tightly controlled, and that is something we have to constantly work on, to get the volume that we know we can sell.

“We have to fight very much for that share of production in the global world.”

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