Kia has launched a three-door version of its Picanto to help boost its presence in minicars, Europe's third-largest segment with total sales of nearly 1.4 million cars last year.
"The three-door is important to broaden the Picanto's customer base to those looking for a cheaper model and to buyers who want a sportier variant," Kia Europe CEO Paul Philpott said.
Kia expects the three-door variant to cover a third of Picanto sales in Europe. The company plans to increase the Picanto's annual sales in Europe to about 60,000 from 47,094 units in 2010, even though the model won't offer a diesel engine alongside 1.0-liter and 1.2-liter gasoline powerplants.
For buyers looking for better fuel economy, a bi-fuel variant fueled by gasoline or liquefied petroleum gas will launch later this year.
"This Picanto will be the first model offered in Europe with an LPG system installed directly in the factory and not as an aftermarket conversion, so it will have Kia's seven-year warranty," Philpott said.
The Picanto is Kia's second best-selling model in Europe behind the Cee'd compact family. The new Picanto, and the new Rio subcompact which went on sale in late August, are the crucial models in Kia's quest to boost sales in Europe by 70 percent to 450,000 units by 2013 from 262,627 units last year.