Kia may soon join the hot hatch market with its all-new 2012 Rio, if comments from the brand's product chief this week are a hint of what is to come.
Following the unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show last month of its new fourth-generation Rio hatch, Kia Marketing and Product Manager Benny Oeyen has told British magazine Autocar that a proper sports model is a must for the carmaker.
Oeyen said that the quality and design of the new Kia range is "much greater than the brand's image represents," adding that a way of improving that image would be to introduce "a hot hatch, cabrio or a coupe".
As approvals and green lights go, Oeyen's comments are far from providing confirmation that a GTI rival is on the way - but with the hot hatch market heating up in recent years, the odds seem to be in favour of a performance Rio debuting in the future.
In the regular Rio range, powertrain options will include a 1.1 litre 51kW diesel inline-three and 1.4 litre diesel four. A 1.25 litre 63kW petrol inline four will also be available, while a 1.4 litre 80kW petrol four is the most powerful engine of the bunch.
An Australian launch for the new Rio has been confirmed for later this year, however technical specifications have still to be revealed.