KIA Motors Corporation has unveiled new vehicle lines worth $1 million imported from South Korea as it seeks to strengthen its footprint on the domestic market which of late has been dominated by second-hand Japanese vehicle imports.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Speaking at the launch at Borrowdale Race Course in Harare last Thursday, Kia Motors general manager Keith Smith said the company only started being active in Zimbabwe over the past five months.
“We have been waiting for this consignment of stock to come through to effect this launch and now that it is here we have the full range of products.
“We thought it was now a good time to expose the new range of vehicles to the public,” Smith said.
The new line of vehicles that were on display were the Cerato, K2700 Light, Kia Rio, Picanto, Sorento, Soul and the Sportage.
“We found that the existing Kia dealer was not really putting a lot of effort, so we felt it was an ideal opportune time to come now, launch Kia in a big way, and provide the much-needed competition in this country,” Smith said.
“There are other competing products that are similar in price, size and overall specifications which we believe is more and more to our competition.”
Kia Motors Corporation was founded in 1944 and is South Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles with over 2,7 million Kia vehicles being produced a year in 10 manufacturing and assembly operations in five countries.
The company has dealerships in 150 countries and employs
48 000 employees generating a total revenue of $43 billion.
Smith said the company planned on focusing more on services as a way of competing with established brands in the country.
“The K2700 truck is going to be a big seller and we have already had numerous enquiries about it.
“It is the most popular workhorse in South Africa. I have every confidence that it is going to grow the brand and be a big one,” Smith said.
“In South Africa, the Rio is 50% of their sales and amazingly popular and is head-on-head with things like the Volkswagon Golf and Polo I am positive that is also going to do well for us.”
The K2700 Light has a 2,7 litre four-cylinder J2 diesel engine which delivers 62kw of power at 4 150rpm, and 165 Nm of torque at 2 400rpm. It comes with a standard five-year 150 000km warranty.
The vehicle comes with power steering, tilt-adjustable steering wheel, and a turning circle of only 4,9m, making it easy to manoeuvre and drive with a 2 810mm long deck and 1 630mm wide bed the K2700 provides up to 1,5 tonne capacity.
Smith said the Picanto was designed for lower income earners. It boasts a three-cylinder, 998 cc unit producing 51 kW and 94 Nm of torque in the 1.0 LX.
A four-cylinder, 1 248 cc engine is utilised in the range-topping 1,2 EX, producing 65 kW and 120 Nm of torque at $15 000.