(SEOUL) September 9, 2003 - Kia Motors unveiled a brand new A-segment car at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 9. The new car, called the Picanto, gives Korea`s second-largest automaker a competitive entry-level vehicle in Europe for the first time.
The five-door Picanto will be available in a four and a five-seat version. Sporting 157 litres of storage space with the rear seats up, the Picanto also leaves plenty of room for luggage. Folding the seats down gives 882 litres of space. In terms of passenger space, the Picanto is the best in its class in overall dimensions.
The Picanto`s class-leading CO2 figures reflect the push toward leaner, greener vehicles. The 1.0 litre engine produces a miserly 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. The 1.1 version generates 130 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre in the five-speed manual version and 150 g/km in the four-speed automatic version.
With a choice of 14"or 15"alloy wheels and a brand new three-spoke steering wheel, the Picanto furthers Kia`s goal of developing a "Young, sporty, friendly" brand image.
The car also comes with an instant mobility system instead of a spare tyre. This boosts interior space and increases the safety and versatility of the car.
"The Picanto offers a blend of contemporary styling and a full range of features. It is tailor-made for the active lifestyle favoured by the younger generation," says Kia Motors COO Yong-Hwan Kim.
As automakers around the world increasingly focus on marketing to "Generation Y" buyers, Kia is taking a more low-key approach. "You can`t tell young people what they want," says Mr. Kim, "They will decide for themselves. If we want to attract these buyers, we have to provide a great car at a price that is within their range."
This approach is already generating results in the United States. In the world`s largest car market, almost 16% of Kia cars are sold to customers aged 18-25. That makes the Kia brand the most popular choice for Generation Y buyers.
The Picanto is a high volume product designed to achieve stronger penetration particularly in Europe, where it will contribute significantly to Kia`s goal of tripling sales in the region by 2005 and raise awareness of the Kia brand in general. A diesel version of the vehicle will be released in 2005, increasing the appeal of the vehicle still further.
"The Kia range currently covers around 35% of European segmentation. By 2005 this will increase to around 85% as we develop vehicles to more closely match European tastes," says Mr. Kim.
Initial production of the Picanto will be 123,000 units per year, of which 75,000 will be export models. The export target for Europe is 66,200 in 2004.
Founded in 1944, Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.co.kr) is Korea`s oldest manufacturer of automobiles. A part of the Hyundai Automobile Group, the company currently sells more than one million vehicles per year worldwide and maintains a network of distributors that covers 190 countries. Kia Motors is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and the international sponsor of the Davis Cup for the Euro/Africa zone.