AM Online

Philpott to shift Kia image with new hot hatch

A Kia you can boast about is how the South Korean car company would like people to see the new three-door Pro_Cee'd.

People may also see it as the most complicated car name on the road, but the important thing for Kia UK is that it sheds its cheap and cheerful image.

Paul Philpott, Kia UK managing director, said the company’s image is currently being turned on its head.

He wants to change the perception of the brand from cheap and cheerful to design-led and desirable.

Philpott added: "Our new products will no longer fit into that simple cheap, reliable image they are much more than that. The Chinese are coming and the Indians will probably follow. Cheap and cheerful can no longer be our ultimate selling point."

Speaking at the launch of the new, European-built three-door Pro_Cee'd in Istanbul, Philpott said: "We have changed our marketing philosophy from supply push to demand pull and moved our reliance on fleet business to retail growth.

"Sales numbers dropped 18% last year overall, but we did increase sales to private buyers and that trend has been increasing."

Kia plans a seven-model Pro_Cee'd line-up based on five engines and three trim levels that will ensure 70% engine coverage of the UK three-door C-segment market.

There will be no price differentiation between the three-door Pro_Cee'd and five-door Cee'd, although it will feature additional equipment over the equivalent five-door model.

Air conditioning and alloy wheels are standard on every Pro_Cee'd, while a sports equipment pack is fitted to the two upper model trims.

The range will feature 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol engines, two 1.6-litre diesels and a 2.0-litre diesel.

The 1.6-litre diesel engines are the CRDi units introduced in December 2006 for the Cee'd hatchback.

The Pro_Cee’d will go on sale on February 1 and priced between £11,797 and £15,495.

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