It’s Morning in Korea, Kia Motors believes
'경차 그 이상'…기아차 신형 모닝 출시
|Models pose next to the revamped Morning, a compact mini-car, launched by Kia Motors yesterday at the Haevichi Hotel and Resort on Jeju Island. The vehicle is one of the only mini-cars made by a Korean automaker. [YONHAP]|
JEJU ISLAND - Kia Motors yesterday rolled out its newly revamped Morning, a compact mini-car, against the backdrop of the luxurious and beautiful Haevichi Hotel and Resort.
The arrival of the upgraded Morning is expected to increase competition in the compact vehicle market in Korea.
Compact vehicles sold in Korea have evolved from affordable small-sized cars to ones more in tune with a high-quality lifestyle, like the BMW Mini Cooper series.
The basic price for the upgraded Morning tops 10 million won ($8,930). This is the first time that the price of a local compact mini-car has exceeded 10 million won.
With the inclusion of all the new features and options that the Morning is offering in its 2011 model, consumers will need to pay 14.9 million won, which is a price normally seen in the sub-compact vehicle segment.
There have been concerns that the higher price of compact cars will hit the pocketbook of customers - particularly when there is a limited choice when it comes to local compact mini-cars - since there are only two models available: the Morning and GM Daewoo’s Matiz Creative.
Kia claims the price is reasonable if all the options and features are taken into account.
“The Morning is a million-seller brand and it has upgraded the concept of a compact mini-car,” said Seo Young-jong, president of Kia Motors. “The new Morning is Kia’s first model for 2011 and offers the best performance, fuel efficiency, safety and convenience features. It’s value for money exceeds what’s offered in cars of a similar size in the local market.”
He added that “Kia’s global leadership and brand identity mean that not only will Morning continue to dominate the domestic market, but it will also lead the global market.”
Morning, which was first launched in 2004, has sold over 1.1 million units worldwide.
“The new Morning shows superiority in all aspects compared to the Matiz Creative with better fuel efficiency, space, noise level and features,” said Kim Boo-sik, head of Kia’s domestic production team. “The options you will see are something that can been seen in our larger vehicle, the Opirus, and the increase in price is really not at all significant. The car is rather cheap when considering the amount of new technology being offered.”
The company said that the Morning is targeting female drivers in their 20s and 30s in particular and will appeal to them with its competitive performance, safety features and various convenience options.
Kia said it plans to sell 100,000 units of the Morning this year in the domestic market and 120,000 overseas, where it is sold under the name Picanto.
The first foreign market to be targeted will be Europe, starting in the first half of this year. Kia aims to increase total sales to 240,000 in 2012, including 140,000 overseas.
Kia is also planning to introduce a crossover utility vehicle this year that will use the Morning’s platform. Suh Choon-kwan, the head of Kia’s domestic marketing group, said that the sale of both vehicles will mean that Kia could capture up to 70 percent to 80 percent of the local small car market.
Suh added that although the price may seem high, 42 percent of the pre-orders are focused on models selling for 12.3 million won, since consumers want a more luxurious option even in smaller vehicles.
The new Morning features six airbags installed in all of its models and offers separate options, including a heated steering wheel, digital multimedia broadcasting navigation and a sunroof, for the first time in a vehicle in its size range.
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