Kias redesigned 2018 third generation Ceed line includes a 1.6-litre turbodiesel badged 1.6CRDi offered with six speed manual or seven speed dual clutch automatic transmissions

Kia's redesigned 2018 third generation Ceed line includes a 1.6-litre turbodiesel badged 1.6CRDi offered with six speed manual or seven speed dual clutch automatic transmissions

Diesels may have been demonised over the past couple of years but carmakers are keeping the faith even though sales have dipped in many markets.

Paul Philpott, president of Kia Motors (UK), said the Korean brand sees a bright future for the latest generation of clean diesels, particularly for fleet and high mileage users.

He added: "We are still looking at diesel in the long term although we have seen a fall in sales on the back of some unfair headlines in the media while upcoming regulations in some cities have made buyers nervous.

"What we would like to see is some incentives from government to trade in older diesels for new ones. There are still big benefits in terms of CO2 emissions and fuel economy."

Philpott was talking to just-auto at the UK launch of the new generation Ceed, a model which has seen its diesel mix fall from 66% of sales to around 50%. 

The diesel issue is just one of the headwinds faced by Kia in the UK where the brand is still outperforming the market with sales up 2% against an industry dip of 6%. Brexit, of course, is the major uncertainty.

Philpott said: "We really need some certainty about what the future holds – we are only eight months away from a possible exit from the EU and we remain unsure of what is going to happen. We are an importer from the EU as well as South Korea, which now has a free trade agreement with the EU, we need to know how Brexit will affect us.

"The automotive industry is a major contributor to UK GDP, accounting for around 12%, so it is important that we get some clarity over tariffs and customs. We also don't know how Brexit will affect interest rates or the consumer's buying habits.

"That said, since the referendum, nothing has fallen off a cliff and, while UK vehicle sales have slowed, if a trade deal is done, I can see it coming back quite quickly."

See also: Kia sows a new Ceed in Europe

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