There’s a battle being waged within the walls of Kia Australia’s head office concerning the 2018 Cerato, which was recently unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show as the US market Kia Forte, and its need to deliver advanced safety systems.
Kia Australia Managing Director, Damien Meredith, told Australian media that “the need to put AEB into your base models is nearly compulsory” standing the new small sedan in good stead of receiving autonomous braking as standard across the range.
Meredith also said that “We will try very, very hard to have a Cerato in at $19,990 whether it be manual or auto we haven’t decided yet. We haven’t finalised, obviously, our pricing strategy at this point in time.”
Getting pricing for the new model will be absolutely crucial to the new model’s continued success, with Kia having pushed the current Cerato from 11th place on Australia’s small car sales charts to fourth as of the end of 2017.
Kia’s sister brand, Hyundai (which functions as a separate company and traditional rival in Australia) knows all too well the difficulty of raising the price of its small car range, with the 2017 i30 stepping up in price from its 2016 predecessor, a move which saw sales decline with Hyundai only recently re-introducing a new $19,990 (plus on-road costs) price leader to restore interest.
“Would you go $19,990 without AEB, or would you go $20,490 with AEB?” Meredith posited.
“I would probably say that as you get stronger in the marketplace that you go $20,490 but let’s see what happens. We haven’t decided what pricing we’ll do matched with the specification level but again we make the point that I think the market demands that all levels of all vehicles need AEB.”
Kia’s recent split ANCAP result for the large Stinger liftback would also be playing in the minds of the brand’s executive team, with the non-AEB equipped Stinger S scoring only 3 stars under ANCAP’s test criteria, while better specced models with autonomous braking manages a five-star result.
In order to avoid a repeat of that outcome under ANCAP’s more stringent 2018 rules, Kia will likely be looking to include AEB on any new model launches going forward, having already upgraded the specification of its cheapest Picanto hatch in 2017 to include the technology.
“There’s two important factors, one is that we believe that $19,990 is important, but so is AEB, if we can get both that would be fantastic. I’m not quite sure we can do that.” Meredith said in closing, suggesting that the only way is up for the new Cerato’s base-line pricing.
Overseas model shown.
MORE: Kia News and Reviews