Kia is look­ing to make its mark, writes Paul Gover in Christchurch

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On Road -

THE fu­ture of Kia is based on hon­esty. New prod­ucts will power the Korean car­maker’s global sales push, in­clud­ing a top-five drive in Aus­tralia, but the top man at Kia says hon­esty is the bedrock.

Hank Lee, pres­i­dent of Kia Mo­tors, in an ex­clu­sive cars­Guide in­ter­view, says: ‘‘ The brand is hon­est. Our cus­tomers, whether they are young, or aged but youn­gat-heart, can ex­pect the prod­ucts they need from Kia.

‘‘Kia prod­ucts are also good value for money.’’

Kia is now twinned with Hyundai and shar­ing me­chan­i­cal plat­forms with its Korean big brother, but Lee says there is plenty of op­por­tu­nity for a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion.

‘‘We are try­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the driv­ing dy­nam­ics of the prod­ucts. Hyundai’s brand iden­tity is re­fined and con­fi­dent and Kia is ex­cit­ing,’’ Lee says.

‘‘We are try­ing to tune the prod­uct more to be more dy­namic in the han­dling. Hyundai is more to­wards the com­fort. I think that is the dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween the two prod­ucts.’’

Hyundai and Kia have the same over­all ob­jec­tive, but dif­fer­ent tac­tics.

The com­bined com­pany has a topthree sales tar­get in the medium term and Kia is fore­cast­ing more than 2.5 mil­lion ve­hi­cles a year.

Hon­esty: Kia boss Hank Lee.

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