Kia Motors NZ is to open a flagship showroom in Auckland’s automotive heartland, a move that comes on the strength of its growing reputation as a quality carmaker with a stylish line-up of vehicles.
The new outlet, in city-suburban Newmarket, will showcase Kia’s global ‘Red Cube’ theme, a visual representation of the emphasis its acclaimed styling chief Peter Schreyer has placed on design.
Clad in red, the dealership will occupy 2500sq metres and include a showroom for 25 new vehicles and service centre with 15 bays. The Red Cube design is part of a trademark look Kia is rolling out worldwide.
“The showroom will be the first of its kind in New Zealand and makes a statement for the future of the brand in Auckland,” said Kia Motors NZ general manager Todd McDonald. Other Kia outlets throughout NZ will adopt the styling.
Sales of Kia vehicles in NZ so far this year are running at a whopping 68 per cent up on 2015. At the end of September last year it had sold 2433 vehicles – last month it had sold 4083. That’s 793 more than the 3290 it sold in all of 2015.
Kia finished 11th in the top 15 carmakers last year. This year it is sitting in 8th place. It didn’t have a vehicle among the top 15 best sellers last year; so far this year its Sportage SUV is the third most popular passenger car.
Sportage had sold 2326 units at the end of September, after the Toyota Corolla (3850) and Toyota RAV4 (2514) and ahead of the Mazda CX-5 (2130) and Suzuki Swift (1948).
Worldwide, Kia is on course for a 13th successive year of growth in 2016. Back in 2006 it sold around 1.2 million vehicles; last year it sold 3.05 million. What once was a budget brand with a disjointed product line-up is now lauded for its coherent design, stylishness and increasing high quality.
Designer Schreyer has played a huge part in Kia’s growth since he joined the company in 2006 from the Volkswagen Group. The German stylist told website JustAuto he was proud of the image change and the way Kia has turned around. “I knew what I could do, but I am still happy and surprised, and quality has improved enormously.”
Schreyer set out to find a new face for Kia, a visual look that would identify its entire product line-up. It became known as the tiger-nose grille. But it wasn’t inspired by a tiger’s nose, Schreyer has admitted.
“It just came to me one day, but when we first showed it we had to find a way to describe it, so we came up with the idea of a tiger’s nose. The best thing about it is that it is adaptable. We can make it big or small and change the position of the lights around it, but you always know that the car is a Kia.”