- Forte to play crucial role in Kia's fortunes in China - New Sorento makes Chinese debut
(SEOUL) April 20, 2009 - Kia Motors Corporation, along with its joint venture Donfeng Yueda Kia (DYK), has taken the wraps off its locally-produced Forte C-segment sedan (export model from Korea known as "all-new Cerato" in many markets) today at Auto Shanghai 2009, which runs through April 28 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. Also making its Chinese debut is the Korea-produced new Sorento Highline Cruiser which made its world premiere earlier this month at the 2009 Seoul Motor Show.
China-made Kia Forte The Kia Forte for the Chinese market will be produced at DYK's plant located in Jiangsu province and has a crucial role to play in the brand's future fortunes in China. It will be sold alongside the hugely popular locally-produced current generation model - the Cerato.
Kia designers and engineers concentrated on eight key areas while developing the Forte: dynamic styling, class-leading performance, increased fuel economy, improved ride/handling balance, greater cabin comfort, enhanced overall safety, the introduction of new technologies and maintained functionality.
Globally, the Forte four-door sedan will be joined by an exciting two-door coupe model - Forte (Cerato) Koup, which was unveiled last week at the New York Motor Show and will go on sale in late 2009.
Styled under the direction of Kia's Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, the previously conservative appearance has been put aside and Forte embodies Kia's new design DNA in its most complete form so far.
"Design gives a soul to the product and the future of Kia products lies in balance, clarity and purpose. Our all-new Forte embodies that philosophy. Breaking away from traditional forms, Forte is a design that notches up the visual standards of C-segment cars. Without any extraneous features, its crisp, clean exterior styling conveys a powerful and dynamic image that exudes speed," observes Schreyer.
For the Chinese market, Forte will be available with a choice of a 2-litre gasoline or locally produced 1.6-litre gasoline engine, with manual or automatic transmissions, in a selection of 10 exterior colours and two interior colours, with a broad choice of equipment/trim levels and a vast range of factory-fitted optional extras.
Forte is 30 mm longer, 40 mm wider and 10 mm lower than the previous model and features a wheelbase also extended by 40 mm to ensure that five adults can be comfortably accommodated. Following modern design trends and improving both stability and handling, the track is increased by 62 mm front and 79 mm rear (up to 39 mm more than the body), pushing the wheels towards the vehicle's outer extremity for a bolder stance.
New Sorento 'Highline Cruiser' At its launch, the original Kia Sorento injected fresh visual excitement into the CUV segment with its 'stand-out' looks. Now, under the direction of Kia's Chief Design Officer (CDO), Peter Schreyer, the Kia design team aimed to deliver futuristic styling with a bold sense of power and dynamism, to once again differentiate Kia's larger CUV from potential rivals by incorporating Kia's new design DNA.
During development of the new Sorento, Kia engineers ditched the old body-on-frame structure and designed an all-new unitary (monocoque) bodyshell with room for up to seven occupants.
The new Sorento will soon be recognized as a 'highline cruiser' with a much broader customer appeal," commented Hyoung-Keun Lee, Senior Executive Vice President & COO of the International Business Division.
"Despite the current economic uncertainties, we are confident that New Sorento will significantly increase Kia's share of the utility vehicle market, achieving annual global sales of 140,000 units from 2010."
The new, longer bodyshell created for new Sorento, with its repositioned A-pillars and dashboard (moved forwards) and extended tailgate (moved rearwards), ensures that the cabin is much more spacious than the current model. The real and perceived quality of the cabin is greatly enhanced and available high-tech features available in China will include: keyless entry, engine start button, reversing safety camera and panoramic glass sunroof.
For the China market, the new Sorento will be offered with a choice of two engines: Theta II 2.4 gasoline with 4WD and 6-speed A/T; R 2.2 diesel with 4WD and 6-speed A/T. Globally, a total of five engines - different engines being available in different regions around the world to best suit local requirements - with CO2 emissions from just 173 g/km will be offered.
Kia in China Kia Motors has been active in the Chinese market since 2002, when it formed the DYK joint venture and began local production of the TianLima sedan. Since then DYK has added numerous Kia models to its local production lineup and opened a second manufacturing facility in early 2008. Kia Motors also supplies the Chinese market with vehicles exported from plants in Korea.
Despite expected growth of new passenger car sales in China to slow to single digits in 2009, Kia Motors and DYK have established an aggressive 2009 sales target of over 195,000 units, up 30% from the previous year. This follows a successful year in 2008, when sales of over 151,000 cars for a 32% increase over 2007 were achieved.
### Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.com) -- a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world's premier automotive brands. Nearly 1.5 million vehicles a year are produced in 13 manufacturing and assembly operations in eight countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 172 countries. Kia today has over 40,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of over US$14.5 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Open and an official automotive partner of FIFA -- the governing body of the FIFA World Cup -- as well as a EUROTOP partner of UEFA. Kia Motors Corporation's brand slogan -- "The Power to Surprise" -- represents the company's global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.