Kia plots its own 'WRX' -- Australia

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Kia plots its own 'WRX' -- Australia

Post by G-Force on Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:15 pm



Kia says it will enter the performance car game to finalize its image makeover. Just like Subaru used the WRX to turn around its perception the South Korean brand admits it could resort to the same tactic.

The company has hired respected engineer Graeme Gambold to customise its cars to local conditions. A Cerato Koup was sent to Gambold’s Melbourne workshop where it was fitted with a number of suspension upgrades including adjustable shock absorbers.

Kia’s national marketing manager Steve Watt hinted said the exercise has opened up the possibility of creating a locally developed Cerato hot hatch.

Image makeover continues for Korean brand with new Cerato hatch and Optima sedan debuting at Sydney motor show.

Kia’s national marketing manager Steve Watt hinted said the exercise has opened up the possibility of creating a locally developed Cerato hot hatch.

“The good thing about the Australian market is that we can do things ourselves,” Watt said.

He added that any possible special edition model would likely be limited to suspension and styling changes, in order to not to affect the company’s five year warranty.

However, a number of aftermarket engine specialists around the world have already developed performance upgrades for the 2.0-litre engine; including a turbocharged version.

Speaking at the unveiling of the Cerato five-door hatch and Optima mid-size sedan at Sydney motor show chief operating officer Tony Barlow said a performance car is on the agenda. But he stressed nothing was going to happen in the near future.

“I think at the moment we’re working at making sure the level of awareness of the core models is in place,” Barlow said.

“I think that the acceptance of models like Optima is going to help us like that. To bring through a specific niche car I think is a little bit further down the line.

“There’s been a lot of discussion on that; I’m sure you’ve seen the concept drawings coming out of the Kia world. But I think something like that will eventually come to market."

"I’m just not sure what the timing or concept will be. Certainly there’s been talk about a two-door sportscar but I haven’t seen anything on the internal planning horizon yet.”

The Cerato hatch and Optima are the latest additions to the Kia range under the direction of acclaimed designer Peter Schreyer; which also includes the Cerato sedan and Koup, Sportage and Sorento.

Barlow said the new-look models had helps change customer perception of Kia.

“It’s a really exciting time for the brand,” he said. “People’s perceptions of Kia are changing, people understand it more. I think we’re going from strength to strength now.”

But Barlow said one of the biggest factors in Kia’s recent success is the decision to invest in local suspension and steering development with Gambold.

The Cerato five-door will be powered by the same 2.0-litre 115kW petrol engine used in the Cerato sedan paired with either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox.

There will be two specifications Si and SLi with pricing for the hatch starting at $20,240 (excluding dealer and government charges); below the marketing leading Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla.

The Si automatic starts at $22,240, the SLi manual from $24,040 and the SLi auto from $26,240.

The Optima is due to go on sale in January but Kia won’t reveal pricing or specifications until closer to the launch of the car.

Despite wading into one of the most competitive segments in the market, Barlow is confident the Optima’s styling will win sales.

“The D-segment is a challenging segment,” he said. “It’s very competitive and it’s not one of the segments showing any growth at the moment; it’s stable."

"But with the package we’re offering there we think we’ll be able to conquest a lot of activity in that market place.”

http://news.drive.com.au/drive/sydney-motor-show/kia-plots-its-own-wrx-20101015-16nbj.html



Last edited by G-Force on Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:04 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Kia plots its own 'WRX' -- Australia

Post by sonic on Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:01 am

you go G-Force! galing! Very Happy
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Location : Jalan Jalan

http://kdmunitedph.forummotion.com

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