Blog: Kia planted the cee'd, and it has germinated
Dave Leggett | 26 September 2012
I have just had a Kia cee'd off their UK press fleet to try out for a week. The new model really does seem to sum up why mainstream brands need to be worried by the Koreans.
First off, as a product in the C-segment (still Europe's largest car market segment) it is very much on the pace and very far removed from the 'nice try but not quite there' Kia models of yesteryear. It is very competently styled (Peter 'Audi TT' Schreyer leading the design team), it is made in Europe (Slovakia, in the EU and a much lower cost place to build cars than Germany) and there are the little things like the 7-year warranty (and not tied to first owner only) which should eventually lift residuals when brand perceptions catch up with reality. Handling seemed perfectly balanced for city or motorway. The 1.6L petrol engine and 6-speed transmission got the performance/economy trade-off about right. The interior – general layout, ergonomics, feel of the switchgear, design of the dash, look of the dials, displays and their position – top class. I really liked the cee'd interior the moment I got in.
I still don't like the name of the cee'd model because of the criminal use of the apostrophe, but I am getting used to it.
A look at the ACEA sales numbers for Europe by make for the year so far is telling. Kia is up a staggering 23% in an EU market down 7.1%. Little wonder that some of the mainstream brands are feeling the squeeze and looking anxiously over their shoulders at the Koreans. Where will they be in Europe in five years' time? The days of smirking at the white walled tyres on the Kia Pride are long gone.
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