Kia's first sporty hatchback, the pro_cee'd GT, goes on sale next week, heralding what UK boss Paul Philpott believes is the "next chapter" in the company's history.
A GT version of the five-door cee'd will be added at the start of 2014.
Kia is expecting to sell between 500 and 750 pro_cee'd GTs in the UK in a full year - but they have an important halo effect on the mainstream cars they are based on. In Kia's case they would also help to elevate public perception of the brand.
"The pro_cee'd GT was driven by demand from Europe and with its arrival we are moving on to the next chapter in our history," says the company's UK president and CEO, Paul Philpott.
"In Europe, brands like ours are defined by their C-segment cars, and we now have a model which adds excitement to the range. We took it to Motorexpo in London last week and spent the whole day taking city bankers for test drives."
Kia sold 66,000 cars in the UK in 2012 and is on course to top 70,000 this year - the total for the first-half of the year is expected to be around 37,000. But with only one all-new car to come between now and 2015 - a replacement for the Soul early next year - additional sporty derivatives would give a sales boost to the current range.
There will be two versions of the pro_cee'd, priced from £19,995, plus a limited run of 500 high-specification '1st Edition' models at £23,995. Fifty of these are coming to the UK.
> Kia is featured in the June issue of AM, with an interview with Philpott. Subscribe to AM.