Michael Cole, Kia UK’s new managing director is to lead the shift in perception the South Korean brand has experienced beyond the scrappage scheme which introduced the company to many new customers.
Kia UK currently has a 2% market share in the UK and is aiming for 3% by 2012 and is looking to boost sales by 50% over the next couple of years.
Cole said: “People can still see that we offer value for money but there is now much more than that in terms of the quality of our cars. Soul has sent out a whole new message and shows that Kia is funky and dynamic.
“We want to raise the perception of the brand further still and will continue reassuring people that Kia is a solid, reliable purchase. The next step is aspiration – making them really want to buy into the brand.”
More new product is on the way with the Venga MPV and new Sorento SUV being rolled out from January.
Cole said: “This will be the next step in a product offensive that will see Soul as our oldest model by 2012 – and we only launched that model this year.
“I would like to see Kia with a market share of around 3% in the UK by 2012. We should end this year at just over 2% so we are looking at growth of 50% over the next couple of years.”
Kia needs to work on its fleet business to boost its market share. However, Cole said Kia would not be looking at the short-term or daily rental market.
He said: “We would prefer to get on user-chooser lists and we have a great story for fleets with cars such as the ecodynamic cee’d with low CO2 emissions and seven-year warranty.
“I am not looking for a 50-50 split between retail and fleet but I would like to see fleet sales account for around 35-40% of our business.”