Kia PHL mulls launch of 4th model this year

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THE logo of Kia Motors is seen during the 2019 Seoul Motor Show in Goyang, South Korea, March 28. — REUTERS

KIA Philippines is considering introducing a fourth model within the year, depending on the market response to the three models it launched so far.

“Well, I said three. But there could be a fourth…. We’re working on that feverishly,” Kia Philippines President Emmanuel A. Aligada told reporters last week in Pasay City.

“We’re tracking the response of the market,” he said when asked what model it would be.

The unit of AC Industrial Technology Holdings, Inc. is expected to make a decision within the second quarter, when the demand trend would be clearer.

At the Manila International Auto Show last week, Kia unveiled the Kia Stinger and reintroduced the Kia Forte.

Mr. Aligada said the Stinger will be Kia’s most expensive vehicle with a retail price of P3.23 million.

“The Stinger will not be a volume play… The message is this is a performance car. It has been driven in the Nürburgring where records are set. The message is the engine and technology of Kia is at par with the best,” Mr. Aligada added.

Nürburgring is a legendary Grand Prix racetrack located in Nürburg, Germany.

Meanwhile, the new Kia Forte has a new look and engine. The base model costs P1.095 million, while the model with the Gran Turismo badge costs P1.65 million.

For this year, Kia Philippines is targeting sales to hit 10,000, a jump from 2,238 sold in 2018.

“We need to hit 900 a month from April onwards. We’re still confident we can do that for the main reason that starting April, we have the full lineup,” Mr. Aligada added.

The first model launched this year was the Soluto, a small sedan which is expected to contribute half of the 2019 sales target.

Last year, the company saw a 57% decline in sales due to higher taxes and soaring inflation.

Kia Philippines is a unit of AC Industrials, Ayala Corp.’s automotive arm and wholly owned subsidiary. — Janina C. Lim