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Kia to join the EV market

Kia is set to become the next major car company to join the electric vehicle market with the launch of hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of a small SUV called Niro.

Kia Motors New Zealand has announced that the model will go on sale during the opening quarter of next year, however no prices have been released for the new vehicle

After a ten-month evaluation of the Niro, where the model was reviewed by selected consumers and motoring journalists, a business case was created in order for the vehicle to be sold here in New Zealand.

The Korean built Niro was intended only for the European market, but after a ten-month evaluation of the Niro, where the model was reviewed by selected consumers and motoring journalists, a business case was created in order for the vehicle to be sold here in New Zealand.

Kia claims the Niro is the first dedicated hybrid SUV produced anywhere in the world, built to run on both the power of a petrol engine and an electric motor.

The fuel economy of the hybrid is 3.8L/100km, which was put to the test when driven across the USA where the Niro achieved 3.69L/100km, a world record low for fuel consumption.

The plug-in version is even better, thanks to its larger battery pack and electric motor. Factory figures for the Niro PHEV suggest 1.3L/100km.

The Niro hybrid is powered by a 1.6 litre petrol engine in combination with an electric drive unit.

The new plug-in version of the Niro, which has been released just recently to the international market, has a larger battery pack and can travel up to 40km on batter power alone, with no assistance of its petrol engine.

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Kia has record sales

The Kia Sportage

Kia Motors Corporation has announced its September 2017 global sales figures for passenger cars, recreational vehicles and commercial vehicles – and has notched a record total of 252,254 registrations.

Last month, its domestic market sales totalled 48,019 units. This represented an increase of 25.4 per cent compared with the same month last year. It was largely due to the timing difference of the Chuseok holiday, which was in September 2016 compared to October this year. Overseas sales also increased by 3.6 per cent compared to the previous year. This total came in at 204,235 units.
Kia’s best-selling model in overseas markets during September 2017 was the
Sportage compact SUV with 37,746 registrations. The Cerato compact sedan – also known as the Forte or K3 in some markets – was the second best seller with 28,793 units sold.

It was followed by the sub-compact Rio – known as the Pride in Korea –
with 24,760 registrations.

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Kia’s brand ranking climbs

Kia Motors has been ranked among the highest valued brands in the world once again, according to Interbrand’s 2017 ‘Best Global Brands’ report. The study, released today, confirms Kia’s brand value has grown 6 per cent in the last 12 months, to US$6.68 billion.
“Kia’s continued efforts to evolve and redefine itself are critical to the sustained growth in its brand value,” says Mike Rocha, global director of brand valuation at Interbrand. “The launch of the Stinger – Kia’s new and exciting fastback sports sedan, and the opening of ‘Beat 360’ – a new sensory brand experience centre in Seoul, fill me with high expectations of a bright future for the company.” 
For the second year running, Kia is named the world’s 69th most valuable brand in the report, its latest valuation representing a 645 per cent increase in the value of the Kia brand since 2007. Now the 11th most valuable automotive brand, Kia is ranked ahead of dozens of ‘household name’ consumer brands, as well as a host of volume, premium and luxury car manufacturers.
“This welcome rise in Kia’s brand value is a clear reflection of Kia’s continuous dedication to our customers,” Charles Suh, senior vice president of the corporate marketing division at Kia Motors says. “This result provides us with further motivation to continue our mission to become the most desirable automotive brand in the eyes of consumers.” 
Kia recently launched its first sports sedan, the Stinger and its new hybrid crossover Niro, which are designed to boost the desirability and dynamism of the brand. 
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8-speed gearbox and new design for 2018 Sorento

Kia Motors Europe has announced a range of new upgrades for its seven-seat flagship SUV and will be on public display for the first time at the 2017 Frankfurt International Motor Show.

The new Sorento will be the first from Kia with the company’s new eight-speed automatic transmission that was launched in 2016.

The 2018 Sorento will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The new eight-speed automatic transmission is available on Sorento models powered by the 2.2-litre diesel engine, replacing the six-speed automatic transmission, but Kia will keep the six-speed auto on the market for now. The greater choice of gears in the eight speed enables more decisive acceleration, while reducing CO2 emissions from 172 to 159 g/km.

The new transmission offers four different drive modes that allow the driver to customise the powertrain’s responses to driver inputs, enhancing fuel economy or acceleration characteristics depending on driver preference.

Kia has also introduced a new GT Line variant to the Sorento. Inspired by the appearance of Kia’s higher-performance GT models, the exterior features four-lamp LED fog lights, red brake callipers, a more prominent sill step, and subtle GT Line badging designed to distinguish it from other Sorento models. Diesel models are fitted with a new chrome twin exhaust tip.

The new Sorento will be available in a number of variants.

The interior of the GT Line includes the same improvements as the standard car, and also features quilted seats, finished in black leather with contrasting grey stitching, plus other additions.

All new Sorentos will come with an array of safety features that include driver warning systems to combat drowsy driving.

Buyers can upgrade their Sorento with a new Harman/Kardon® sound system that Kia says has music restoration technology to rebuild audio signals lost in the digital compression process, returning high-fidelity quality to digitally-compressed music.



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New Kia Stinger info released

Kia has released further information for the upcoming version of their turbo sports sedan, the Stinger.

Autofile reported in January that the Stinger was expected to be launched globally late this year, but at the time details were sparse. The new stinger will come in an entry level S model, mid specced Si, and the top of the line GT.

Kia Motors Australia’s CEO was keen to point out that while an entry level model, the S was not lacking in features. The S model will have the same 3.3 litre bi-turbo engine, 8 speed gearbox and paddle shifts as the highest speced GT variant, capable of a 4.9 second 0-100km sprint.

The 2018 Kia Stinger.

“There is a belief that any entry-level model will be, for want of a better description, sparse,” Kia Motors Australia CEO, Damien Meredith, said. “That is not the case with the Stinger.

In common with all three grades the S is powered by the 272kW 3.3-litre bi-turbo V6, making an impressive 510Nm of tourque. The 4.9 second 0-100km sprint is aided by the standard launch control function.

Meredith also noted the safety features that are common across the range, including anti-lock brakes, ESC and traction control, rear view camera and more.

All models will also have seven airbags including a driver’s side knee bag, front seat belt pre-tensioners and load limiters.

Stepping up to the Si adds a raft of extra features including 19-inch alloys with 225/40R profile front tyres and 255/35R19 rears.

The Si also gains a forward collision warning system, emergency braking assist and a driver attention alert.

The interiror of the Stinger.

In addition to that, the GT variant will include LED headlights with automatic levelling, blind spot detection systems and a full colour HUD.

The seating becomes Nappa leather with GT logos and the addition of lumbar support, powered bolster adjuster and thigh extender. There will be two-position seat memory with easy access button, a D-cut steering wheel and wireless cell phone charging.

Kia still have not released an official date for the Stinger’s debut, but did note that a comprehensive list of specs will be available at lauch.

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Telluride wins award

The Kia Telluride Concept car has received a 2017 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) bronze medal in the ‘Transportation’ category.

The Telluride was designed at Kia’s California design studio, Kia Design Centre America. “It highlights how our designers are creating compelling concept vehicles as a foundation to lead into production-ready cars. I am very proud of our design team and the award from IDSA,” says president and chief design officer for Kia Motors, Peter Shreyer.

The Telluride was unveiled in 2016, and includes a three-row, seven-passenger, luxury SUV concept. It features a modern and upright shape, muscular stance, and – for maximum comfort – a longer wheelbase than many other production Kia models.

The concept focuses on the passenger experience and comfort of second-row occupants, whose seats can recline nearly flat with large fold-away footrests.

Front- and middle-row passenger seats feature a series of precise diamond-cut openings in the seatbacks, each embedded with Smart Sensors to capture a passenger’s vital health information. Passenger vitals are then displayed on interior door panel screens, and synchronize with a Light Emitted Rejuvenation (LER) system.

The LER system utilizes a large LED panel in the ceiling which displays therapeutic light patterns to treat desynchronosis, more commonly known as jetlag, and improve passengers’ energy levels.

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Kia tops Initial Quality Study

Kia has been named the highest ranking brand in the JD Power 2017 Initial Quality Study (IQS).

After topping the study in 2016, Kia has made a seven per cent improvement this year with just 72 problems per 100 vehicles, down from 83 in the previous survey. 

Kia vehicles topped five individual segments with the Soul named leading Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle and the Cerato  taking out the Compact Car.  The Cadenza was awarded the Large Car, the Niro hybrid SUV won the Small SUV category and Sorento was named as the top Midsize SUV.

It’s the third year running that the Kia Soul was top of its category, Optima and Sportage finished second in their respective categories.

“This is a stunning endorsement for the quality and reliability of Kia vehicles,” says general manager for Kia Motors New Zealand, Todd McDonald.

“The JD Power IQS study is one of the top automotive benchmarks in the world. Every vehicle manufacturer aspires to do well because it is a true reflection of how well you build vehicles, and support the customers who buy them.

“To improve on the quality score from last year’s impressive result is an extraordinary achievement.”

The study is based on responses from nearly 80,000 purchasers, covering 243 vehicle models across 26 segments. Vehicles were evaluated on driving experience, engine and transmission performance and a broad range of quality problem symptoms reported by vehicle owners.

Kia scored well across the various categories, including the performance and reliability of its infotainment systems, which is an area that has drawn the most complaints from vehicle owners in general over recent years as on-board technology becomes more complex.

Filling out the other places in the top five were Kia’s stablemate, Genesis, in second place, Porsche in third, with Ford and Ram trucks in joint fourth position. Toyota fell from fifth place last year to 14th in the latest study.

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Kiwi takes Kia Skill World Cup title

New Zealander Travis Cross has been awarded top Service Advisor for the Asia-Pacific region at the 2017 Kia Skill World Cup held in Korea.

Representing New Zealand at the competition, Cross, from Botany Kia, beat out contestants from nine other countries to take the regional title. He was placed 11th out of the 57 global competitors.

“I was surprised to finish first in the region and pretty happy with the result against the rest of the world,” he said.

Service advisors around New Zealand initially applied for the competition. Successful applicants had to complete a 25-question written test exhibiting a broad knowledge of the Kia range and aftersales policies and processes. Five finalists competed to represent New Zealand at the global competition.

The global competition in Seoul included a written and video test and a role-playing exercise over two days.

While in Korea, Cross visited a Kia Motors assembly plant. “That was very impressive – we got to see Optima and Cerato being built,” he said.

It’s the second year in a row that a Kiwi has taken out a regional title at the Kia Skill World Cup. Last year, Brian Cockerton from Giltrap North Shore topped his region in the Service Technician division of the contest.

“Travis has done extraordinarily well to uphold Kia Motors New Zealand’s reputation at the Kia Skill World Cup,” said Kia Motors national service manager Craig Buckley.

“It’s a uncompromising test of individual knowledge and interpersonal skills of the Kia Service Advisor, and to reach the world finals, then come away as the best in the Asia/Pacific region, is a great achievement for Travis.”

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New Kia Rio available in New Zealand

The Kia Rio is now on sale on New Zealand, with a redesigned silhouette and a larger cabin.

The model range contains three options – the LX, the EX and the Limited.

A 1.4-litre MPI engine powers the new Rio, generating 74kW of power and 133Nm of torque. The engine is matched to a four-speed automatic transmission, with a six-speed manual option for the LX.

The lengthened stance contains an extended bonnet and front overhang and a longer wheelbase, now 2,580mm. The fourth-generation Rio is now 15mm longer than previous models, at 4065mm, and 5mm lower, standing at 1,450mm.

The chassis has also been upgraded to improve handling, agility and ride comfort. The Rio sits on a fully independent MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear axle. The new suspension system contains a more sophisticated spring and damper setup, with advanced RS damper valves included on the New Zealand model for the first time.

Pricing begins at $22,490 plus on-road costs for the Rio LX, with the automatic option costing $23,490. The EX is priced at $25,490, and the Limited at $26,990.

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Kia Soul Turbo on sale in NZ

The Kia Soul Turbo SUV has just gone on sale in New Zealand showrooms, joining the 1.6-litre Urban and the 2-litre Limited models in the Soul line-up.

The Turbo SUV is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine, delivering 150kW of power and 263Nm of torque with a top speed of 196km/hr and a fuel economy rating of 6.9L/100km. The Turbo can achieve 0 to 100km/h in just over 7.5 seconds.

The gearbox is new to New Zealand and contains a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Three driving modes – normal, eco and sport – allow the driver to change the transmission according to conditions and preference.

The Kia Soul 1.6 Turbo also features a rear-view camera, new USB port in the rear, eight-way power adjustment, climate control, keyless entry and push-button start, plus rain-sensing wipers. Driver assistance and safety features include blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

The SUV is priced at $37,990, plus on-road costs, and is available now at registered Kia dealers across New Zealand.

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New Kia Optima GT

Kia has introduced a very limited number of turbocharged Optima GT models to New Zealand.

In place of the 2.4-litre engine in the current EX and Limited models is a potent all-aluminium 2.0-litre turbocharged engine boasting 180kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

The Optima GT engine features a high efficiency twin-scroll turbocharger, high pressure fuel pump, dual continuously variable valve timing technology and laser drilled injectors to deliver the best possible balance between engine performance and efficiency.

Matched to a recalibrated six-speed automatic transmission that also offers sequential manual gear changes, the Kia Optima GT can accelerate from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.4 seconds and top speed is an equally impressive 240km/h (149mph).

The Optima GT also includes its own rack-mounted power steering system (R-MDPS), which differs from the motor driven power steering system (MDPS) fitted to the 2.4-litre Optimas.

Benefitting from a 5-star ANCAP safety rating (2016), the Kia Optima has been designed to be one of the safest vehicles on the road, thanks to its suite of new technologies designed to avoid or mitigate the effects of a collision, in addition to the high strength body structure and six airbags.

Inside, the touchscreen infotainment system features an 8-inch screen incorporating satellite navigation, with rear parking camera and Bluetooth hands-free capability.

Optima Limited and GT buyers also benefit from a powerful 590Watt Harman Kardon Premium Sound system, with 10 speakers, an external amplifier and Clari-Fi MP3 restoration technology. Another feature is the wireless charger for mobile devices, and a hands-free boot opening function for ease of use when the driver’s hands are full.

Available on order only, the new Kia Optima GT is said to slot in just above the Limited, at a recommended retail proce of $53,990 plus on road costs.

“The performance and equipment levels in the Optima GT make it a compelling proposition at a very competitive price,” says general manager of Kia Motors NZ, Todd McDonald.

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