Kia Rio sold more than two million units last year making it the smaller marque to Hyundai’s 3.5 million and because of that is the noisier and younger sibling. Its world domination and ambitious plans that were outline last week at the Rio launch in Seoul accompanied by projections of high hopes for their global expansion are lacking a full blown trajectory of a Bond like doomsday weapon and villain experience.
The figures are as unsettling as they are incontrovertible. Kia in the last four years has practically doubled their sales and is a very fast growing car maker, one of the fastest there is.
The company vice president does admit that scrappage schemes, the recession, America domestic car maker’s travails, Toyota’s worries of quality and the Japanese aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami have helped Kia but on the other hand you cannot deny that Kia is liked by a lot of people.
They may like the seven year warranties, the prices both having the effect of making a more conservatively engineered car. Many drivers will purchase cars much like they do fridges; not because of all the extras and feel but because they want something reliable and that has four wheels and is cheap to operate.
In Britain they loved the Kia’s with the Rio going out they saw a boost of 62% from the sales of 2009’s scheme on scrappage which tell a much better story of buyers value for Kia than what automakers want to let on. Kia wants to on the other hand rise from the bargain basement play with the premium brands.
It feels somewhat threatened by the quiet roar of car making in China and would rather enjoy better profit margins and more respect. The new Rio marks the first of this new stake they are claiming. It was designed by the ex-design director of Audi Peter Schreyer and is a super mini being just over 13 ft. with a distinctive feel and style.
A Ford Fiesta has more sleekness and not quite as grown as the Polo from Volkswagen nevertheless it has a nice design to it. The interior has loads of room and but the boot is a bit titchy to say the least. Lots of soft touch plastics in the cabin and a three dial binnacle with 12 volt sockets, a USB port and jack for auxiliary power.