Kia’s pro_cee’d GT warm hatch has been cut from the Korean carmaker’s local line-up, and it seems Australia’s refusal to change its own gears is to blame.
The lack of an automatic transmission on the pro_cee’d’s options list has dented sales to the point where the Korean carmaker had been left with little choice but to pull it from sale.
Kia could be forgiven for thinking the pro_cee’d would sell up a storm in Australia, based on the early hype and demand from fans for a ‘proper’ sports model from the carmaker.
But those demands have not materialised into sales (as is often the case with sports cars), with the pro_cee’d finding its way into only 365 new driveways so far in 2015.
Kia sold 28 pro_cee’ds last month, which actually compares favourably with several other models in the Sports category under $80,000 (where the pro_cee’d competes).
While not all ‘Sports’ cars in the class are direct competitors, the pro_cee’ds sales for October were on par with the likes of Volkswagen’s Scirocco, the Subaru BRZ, the Volkswagen Beetle and the Nissan 370Z.
But the carmaker had higher hopes for the pro_cee’d, with Kia Australia’s Kevin Hepworth telling TMR that while the three-door body had held some potential buyers back, the lack of an auto option hit sales the hardest.
“Anecdotally, the most common not-to-purchase reason was that there was no automatic option - three doors was also mentioned, but it was definitely the absence of an automatic that restricted sales,” Mr Hepworth said.
“I have no doubt that had the DCT automatic been available the numbers would have been significantly higher and presented a much stronger case for keeping the car in the model range.”
Kia fans have something of an alternative to the pro_cee’d in the Cerato Koup Turbo, which is available with the same 150kW turbocharged engine matched with either a manual or Australian-compulsory (it seems) automatic - both six-speed.
The Koup, however, lacks the warm hatch ‘edge’ of the pro_cee’d and is also hampered sales-wise by the three-door body.
To date, the Koup has managed less than two thirds of the pro_cee’d’s sales for 2015, but that figure could potentially rise as the pro_cee’d departs.
Mr Hepworth said the heavily revised Cerato range, arriving in Australia Q1 next year, would increase the appeal of all Cerato models including the Koup.
Furthermore, Hepworth said there are no plans to withdraw the Koup from the Australian market at this stage.
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