Kia targets higher market share as consumers shift to small utility vehicles

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Kia’s local unit targets to sell 4,000 vehicles this year as it banks on demand for entry-level and commercial vehicles due to limited transportation and growing logistics needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic and as it implements an aggressive sales campaign by offering low downpayment and huge discounts.

In an online briefing Thursday, Kia Philippines president Manny Aligada said the company aims to sell 4,000 units to account for 1.5 percent of its total automotive industry sales forecast of 275,000 units for this year.

The sales target this year is 20 percent lower than last year’s actual sales of 5,019 units, but slightly higher in terms of its 1.2 percent market share a year ago.

As of end-May, Kia Philippines sold 952 units, about 1.2 percent of the market and 50 percent down from the 1,896 units sold in the same period a year ago.

While Kia Philippines’ forecast of 275,000 units for total automotive industry sales is below the actual 417,000 units sold a year ago, Aligada said it is higher than the 240,000 to 250,000 estimate given by others for the year.

Even as the health crisis has taken a toll on the economy and dampened consumer confidence, he said the company sees an opportunity to cater to certain needs of the market through its vehicle offerings.

“As company employees go back to offices and places of work, mobility becomes a concern. Public transport is challenged admittedly and even if they are back to operations, still, the safety requirements of the public is a concern… And therefore, we think people will be in the market for the entry-level vehicles,” he said.

He said the Picanto and Soluto are seen to serve as active vehicle models in the entry-level segment, while the K2500 would be suitable for the logistics requirements of businesses.

As part of efforts to drive sales, he said Kia Philippines is providing low downpayment financing deals or huge cash discounts for its vehicles this month.

In particular, customers can get the Picanto hatchback for a downpayment as low as P1,000 or monthly payment of P12,115, while the Soluto sedan is available at a downpayment of P16,000 or monthly payment of P13,655. The K2500 can be purchased at a downpayment as low as P18,000 or up to P70,000 cash discount.

Buyers of the K2500 Karga this month would also get removable plastic dividers for social distancing.

Aligada said Kia Philippines also expects sales of the automotive industry to be close to normal levels toward the last quarter of the year as consumers and businesses adapt to the changes.

With sales seen to be close to normal levels by the fourth quarter, he said Kia Philippines would be launching a virtual showroom to allow customers to shop for a new car from their homes, and unveiling a new vehicle model before the end of the year.

Kia Philippines is likewise expanding its dealership network by opening in four locations such as Marikina, Fairview, Isabela and Bonifacio Global City to bring the total count to 34.

The company has plans to open four more either by the end of the year or by early next year.

“All these are designed to not only jumpstart our brand but the economy as well,” Aligada said.          

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