SOUTH KOREA: Kia Cerato off to a good start - report

By just-auto.com editorial team | 4 December 2003

The Korea Herald reports that the debut last month of Kia Motors Corp.'s new compact sedan, the Cerato (Spectra/Shuma replacement), is heating up competition in that segment of the local car market, in spite of generally depressed consumer demand.

According to Kia, it sold 2,353 units of the Cerato last month, ranking third on the market for cars with 1.5-litre engines, behind Hyundai Motor Co.'s top-selling New Avante XD and GM-Daewoo's Lacetti. Hyundai sold 5,223 units of the New Avante, while GM Daewoo sold 2,476 units of the Lacetti.

Renault Samsung Motors Corp.'s SM3, the second-best seller in July, September and October, crashed to fourth with sales of 1,545 units last month, the newspaper reported.

Delivery of Ceratos began Nov. 14, so the Herald report suggests that the model's sales could pose a serious threat to rival carmakers.

Kia officials say that because of soaring demand for the new vehicle, there is now a backlog of 2,000 orders, the Herald report said.

Kia, an affiliate of Hyundai, aims to sell 250,000 Ceratos next year, including 190,000 export units.

In the United States, Kia will unveil the Cerato, which will retain the Spectra name, at the Detroit Motor Show in January next year.

In response to Kia's challenge, GM Daewoo will launch a five-door hatchback version of the Lacetti in March, while Renault Samsung plans to offer aggressive discounts for the SM3, the Herald said.