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AUSTRALIA: Kia eyes European built pro_cee'd, Sportwagon

By Graeme Roberts | 4 October 2012

European built, three-door Kia pro_ceed hatchbacks could be Australia-bound, along with the five-door cee'd wagon, supplementing the third generation Korean-built Cerato due to be launched there next year in five-door hatchback, sedan and Koup forms, a local report said.

Australian online publication GoAutoNews said the pro_cee’d initially was not considered a likely contender for Australia, partly because Kia’s European plant in Slovakia was expected to be stretched to supply sufficient numbers for Europe, let alone export demands.

But, with the recession biting in Europe and the Australian dollar strong against the Euro, the Astra GTC-style hatchback [the Opel brand has just been launched Down Under - ed] is under consideration, along with the related cee’d Sportwagon, GoAuto said.

Kia Motors Australia national public relations manager Kevin Hepworth said the pro_cee’d was now "on the radar for Australia" but nothing had been finalised.

“We don’t even have a piece of paper yet,” he said.

Kia Australia has ruled out the five-door Cee’d hatch - the volume seller in Europe because it considers it conceptually too close to the equivalent Cerato, which is also sold in the US as the Forte; it's called the K3 at home in Korea. Variants are also assembled in China for local sale.

If imports from Slovakia start, Kia would be the latest Asian brand in Australia to 'top up' its largely Asian-sourced range with niche models from Europe. Honda Australia buys its Civic sedan from Thailand but imports hatchbacks from the sole source plant, Swindon in England, and will add a UK-built diesel model to its CR-V line next year, supplementing petrol versions also imported from Thailand with which Australia has a free trade agreement.