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Kia works numbers for LCVs

Commercial dealings: While a future Kia pick-up could be based on the Telluride SUV (below), it is unclear if a replacement for the Pregio van (left) would share underpinnings with sister brand Hyundai’s iLoad.

No LCV in sight, but Kia crunches numbers for commercial program in Oz

7 May 2018

DESPITE an increasingly long lead time, Kia is still keen to offer a line-up of light-commercial vehicles (LCV) in Australia, with a company executive highlighting the potential for additional revenues via an increase in the sale of LCV parts and accessories.

Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) chief operating officer Damien Meredith said he was confident that LCVs would come to Australia, despite the parent company not providing any confirmation of a replacement for models such as the 2002-2006 Pregio mid-size van or the K-series light truck range.

As reported, the company has its hands up for a future Kia pick-up that is believed to be in the early stages of development, but that is unlikely to arrive before 2020.

Mr Meredith and KMAu management presented the case for commercial vehicles directly to Kia Motor Company (KMC) Global Operations Division executive vice-president and chief operations officer, Ho Sung Song, who was in Australia recently.

“We think we can get good volume out of that light-commercial range and as importantly, we think we can sell a lot of accessories for that range, so all in all it would just enhance our brand,” Mr Meredith told GoAuto at the launch of the facelifted Kia Carnival in NSW last week.

“It would certainly help our volume and I think the dealer network would be pretty ecstatic where there is another level of growth to come with our brand over the next ‘X’ amount of years.”

Last year, KMAu sold 54,737 vehicles, and Mr Meredith reiterated his previously stated goal of reaching about 70-80,000 units annually by 2020 once a new small SUV comes on stream, before hitting 100,000 sales with a range of light commercials.

While KMAu was bullish about its requirements for LCVs, there was little likelihood of a suitable vehicle emerging within the next three years at least.

“I don’t thinks there is a ladder frame anywhere in our (worldwide) line-up at the point in time, and we certainly need one of those,” Mr Meredith admitted.

“There is nothing we can pick off the shelf and so a full development that has to occur before we can start manufacturing, start producing.

“There’s a lot of homework going on. We’re confident it will happen, we’re just not sure when. Yesterday would have been great,” he said.

Mr Meredith dismissed the notion that the rise of Chinese manufacturers such as Haval and LDV in the commercial space would change KMAu’s approach to LCV pricing or specification levels for the Australian market, confirming that the brand’s seven-year warranty would likely extend to a commercial range.

“I think that we’ve built our growth and brand resilience, which is good over the last three, four years on our warranty, and we’d be confident that we’d priced correctly and we’d be confident in the great quality of our product,” he said. “And we’d be confident that it will have a seven-year warranty.”

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