Kia Cerato Makes Chinese Debut At Auto Shanghai 2005

  • Second Chinese manufacturing facility set for completion at end of 2006
  • Kia expects sales of 130,000 vehicles in China this year

Kia Motors today unveiled its C-segment Cerato sedan (also known as the ‘Spectra’ in some markets) for the first time in China at Auto Shanghai 2005. The introduction of this new model to Kia’s growing line-up in China is aimed at accelerating the strong sales surge the company has experienced in the local market largely based on the success of its locally-produced B-segment TianLima sedan.

The Cerato will be available in the Chinese market with the choice of a 1600cc or 1800cc engine, which will both be mass-produced at Kia’s joint venture (Dong-Feng Yueda Kia) plant in Jiangsu province from this August.

In addition to the B-segment TianLima sedan, D-segment Optima sedan, and Carnival MPV that are already in Chinese showrooms, the launch of the Cerato will allow Kia Motors to boast a full line-up in the Chinese auto market. The Cerato is expected to enable Kia Motors to continue its rapid growth in China thanks to its sporty exterior, powerful performance, and cutting-edge technology. Targeting the new generation of Chinese consumers who have a growing interest in sporty vehicles, Dong-Feng Yueda Kia will be offering a special "Sports Package" that will feature an 1800cc engine and stylish beige and black seats and armrests. The Cerato’s interior also uses black high-glossy and metallic materials, which are favoured by younger generation Chinese consumers.

Kia Motors, the first Korean automaker to make inroads into the Chinese market in 1996, will complete the construction of its second plant in Jiangsu province by the end of 2006. The facility will have an annual production capacity of 300,000 units, thus bringing Kia’s total Chinese manufacturing capacity to 430,000 vehicles per year.

Kia also plans to strengthen its Chinese dealer network by increasing the number of "4S" dealer shops (Sales, Service, Stock, Showroom) by 80% from the current 112 to around 200.

Dong-Feng Yueda Kia sold a total of 62,506 vehicles last year, and it is expected that sales of Kia vehicles will reach around 130,000 units this year with the introduction of the Cerato.

According to Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive Vice President and COO of Kia Motors, "We strongly believe that the future of the Chinese market is filled with amazing potential and that it is important for Kia to erect strong footholds in China not only on the production front but also in terms of offering unsurpassed levels of service quality and enhancing the power of the Kia brand. Going forward, the Chinese market will be one of Kia’s most strategically important markets."

"We are striving to introduce new products simultaneously in all markets of the world including China and to pursue a sales strategy in China that meets the unique characteristics of the market while continually expanding the size as well as elevating the quality of our sales network throughout the country," he added.

Published 23 April 2005 Melanie Carter

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