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AM Awards 2017: Franchise partner of the year - Kia

Paul Philpott, president and chief executive, Kia Motors UK, collects the AM Award 2017 for franchise partner of the year from AM editor Tim Rose

After another thrusting year, with new product and record scores from its dealers, Kia Motors has edged closer still to its long-term target of 100,000 UK registrations.

It settled 2016 at 89,364 vehicles, according to the SMMT, and a record market share of 3.32%.

The brand managed to do this while keeping its retailers happy, achieving its best-ever result in the NFDA’s summer Dealer Attitude Survey – an overall score of 9.2, bettered only by Mercedes-Benz.

Among the categories where Kia topped the NFDA’s tables were those associated with its online presence, training provision and the quality of its field support team. It also shone in the areas of aftersales and used cars, where the brand’s seven-year warranty continued to earn return business, strong residuals and generate a stock of quality used cars, as demonstrated by the Sportage winning its second consecutive AM Award for Used Car of the Year.

Key to the Korean brand’s success in recent years has been the steady flow of new product and this entered a new phase in 2016.

As well as the introduction of a new Sportage and  the Optima saloon, it drove into the hybrid market in determined fashion with the introduction of the Niro SUV – a vehicle available exclusively with a mix of petrol and electric power. At the Paris Motor Show, it then unveiled the new Optima plug-in hybrid, along with the Optima Sportswagon, Optima GT and Rio hatchback.

The brand is clearly optimistic about the coming year, with its first performance saloon, the Stinger, set to reach UK showrooms.

Paul Philpott, managing director, Kia UK, is looking forward to the year ahead, despite the very obvious market headwinds.

He told AM: “If we want to maintain our market share then we need new product to sell. Thankfully, we have that.”








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