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Five new cars from Kia

18 April 2005

  • Kia to launch five new models in next 18 months
  • Firm is fastest-growing volume car maker
  • New supermini and small family car among new models

Kia Rio 1.5-litre diesel on test in Korea

Kia will launch five major new models over the UK over the next 18 months as it seeks to consolidate its position as the world’s fastest-growing volume car maker.

The newcomers include Kia’ first European-designed and -built offering. It is a Ford Focus-sized car, currently code-named ED, which will eventually be offered as a three- and five-door hatchback and as an estate.

‘Kia is absolutely and fundamentally committed to the European market. We are adjusting our sales and model stategies accordingly,’ the company said.

The onslaught of new cars will begin later this year when Kia rolls out a replacement for its five-door Ford Fiesta rival, the Rio. The smart-looking new model is reasonably spacious and good to drive.

There are 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol engines plus a 1.5-litre turbodiesel, which is the pick of the trio. A four-door Rio saloon will go on sale in Europe, but it probably will not be offered in the UK.

The new Sedona large MPV should arrive at the end of the year. A larger version called the Grand Sedona will also be produced for the first time for buyers who want seven seats plus lots of luggage space.

Next year’s introductions will start with a replacement for the Magentis, a Ford Mondeo-sized saloon. Then Kia will shake European midi-MPV makers by launching a new Carens. It will have seven seats instead of today’s five, with the rear pair folding into the floor when necessary.

Kia’ longer-term plans to meet European needs could include a coupe-cabriolet and what it calls a Compact Utility Vehicle to bridge the gap between cars and small 4x4s.

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