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Tony O'Kane | Aug, 17 2011 | 2 Comments

Kia’s stylish new Picanto city car is a virtual certainty for an Australian launch, with its local debut a case of “when," rather than “if”.

Speaking at an event in South Australia this week, Kia Australia’s Chief Operating Officer Tony Barlow confirmed to motoring media that the Picanto was under serious consideration for Australia.

“We’re having an on-going dialogue with Korea about Picanto,” Mr Barlow said. “I haven’t got a firm answer on delivery times as yet, but there’s on-going discussions.

“We’re negotiating with KMC (Kia Motor Company) at the moment, we always have to negotiate for the product and we’re locked in that dialogue now.”

When asked if the Picanto would definitely be sold in Australia, Mr Barlow was confident of a positive outcome.

“I believe it will [happen]. It’s just a matter of timing,” he said.

Mr Barlow added that with discussions expected to continue through 2012, a late debut next year or in early 2013 is the most likely window for the Picanto in Australia.

The Picanto’s arrival would allow Kia to capitalise on the fragmented light car market, and give the company a budget-priced partner to the soon-to-be-launched Rio.

On price, it would likely compete with the Suzuki Alto and Nissan Micra at the lower end of the light car segment.

Already sold in Europe as a five-door hatch, the Picanto will also be available as a three-door in the near future. Current overseas powertrains include a 50kW 1.0 litre inline three and a 62kW 1.2 litre inline four.

A five-speed manual is the standard transmission, while the 1.2 litre engine is also available with a four-speed automatic.

Powertrain details for the Australian-market Picanto have not been finalised, but the 1.2 litre four is the most logical fit for this country.

- Tony O'Kane
TMR Review Editor

 
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