Early new Sportage production in Slovakia

Early new Sportage production in Slovakia

Kia Motors UK remains confident it can weather the draconian austerity measures to be implemented shortly in the UK.

The British government is to unveil its widely-heralded Comprehensive Spending Review today (20 October), which is expected to impact significantly on the short-term labour market in the UK - and ahead of a proposed rise in sales tax from 17.5% to 20% from 1 January.

But at an event to launch Kia's new Sportage model at the manufacturer's Zilina plant in Slovakia, head of product planning & marketing programmes Ian Mathews played down the tax hike.

"What I would say is the [subsequent] VAT is GBP200 on a GBP10,000 car," he told just-auto. "Our plan for next year is to sustain sales volumes in the UK.

"We will address the balance with the new products coming through. We are getting 4%-5% retail share in the UK, which puts us in the top ten. It is an opportunity with the potential cost-cutting in the UK as people are looking for value."

Mathews also firmly positioned the new Sportage up against the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, as well as regular saloons to compete in the British market.

And while Kia insists it is "not chasing" the younger market, it nonetheless views the age profiles of its consumers as becoming more youthful.

"With our A and B segment cars, we see some potential with the younger audience," said Mathews.

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