LONDON - Kia UK Ltd. will confront the vehicle pricing issue in Britain by cutting the price of its cars by 13 percent, making them up to £3,000 (euro 4,565, $4,935) cheaper than some rivals.
Car prices in the UK tend to be significantly more expensive than in mainland Europe.
Kia UK, part of the MCL Group which also imports Mazda vehicles into the country, is relaunching the brand following the economic crisis in South Korea that threatened the future of the automaker. Hyundai Motor, together with other Hyundai Group companies, acquired a 51 percent equity stake in Kia Motors in March.
The first shipment of cars is due to arrive in Britain next month. Kia is looking to double sales in the UK with an aggressive sales and advertising campaign.
The Kia Pride three-door entry model will cost £5,496 - a price reduction of £749, and £2,500 cheaper than the equivalent Ford Fiesta. It will lead into a new seven-model range.
New cars include the Shuma hatchback which starts at £8,495 - £1,000 cheaper than the Daewoo Lanos in the UK.
The Clarus sedan will give Kia a model in the upper-medium segment for the first time in the UK. The Clarus range will start at £10,995 for the 1.8-liter SX, while the 2.0-liter executive model will cost £13,500 - prices which are around £3,000 below comparative Ford Mondeos.
Kia's new Carnival minivan, which will be called Sedona in Britain, should also be available by September although prices have yet to be fixed.
The UK importer is also looking to double its dealer network to 140 as it plans to increase sales to 12,000 a year. Its previous best was 6,000 in 1996.
MCL Managing Director Mark Quinn told a Kia UK dealer conference at the beginning of May that pricing would guarantee short-term orders while a commitment to other issues would keep customers for the long term.
The company will launch a controversial advertisement campaign with the slogan: 'Think before you drive.' It urges people to consider carefully before taking their car on short journeys.
Quinn said Kia was not admitting its prices had been too high in the past. 'There are too many issues to address on that point, including different taxes and currency fluctuation,' he said. 'What we are saying is that we are relaunching the brand and we are dropping our prices to attract new customers. We have set ourselves some very aggressive targets.'