KIA fu­elled by op­ti­mism for com­ing year

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOTORING -

Naza Kia Malaysia is ex­pect­ing to fin­ish off this year record­ing 5% less sales than it did in the pre­vi­ous year.

Ac­cord­ing to Naza Kia Malaysia’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Datuk Syed Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar, part of this de­cline in sales is also down to the is­sue of sup­ply, which has lim­ited sales and de­liv­er­ies of new mod­els as well.

“In the last two years, HyundaiKia’s global sales have gone up by nearly 50%, rais­ing a big chal­lenge con­cern­ing sup­ply as the com­pany’s pro­duc­tion right now can’t meet global de­mands,” ex­plains Syed Hafiz.

That be­ing said, as at the month of Oc­to­ber, Naza-Kia Malaysia recorded a to­tal sales fig­ure of 8,000 units so far for this year. De­spite the chal­lenges, Syed Hafiz is op­ti­mistic about next year’s prospects.

“Next year, we are con­fi­dent that we can achieve 20 to 30% higher sales. The Kia brand has been re­branded to be stronger in Malaysia with a top-down strat­egy where we started with the D-seg­ment Op­tima, and have now worked our way down to the launch of the new A-seg­ment Pi­canto,” he says.

With the launch of the Pi­canto, Syed Hafiz says that the com­pany has re­freshed its en­tire Naza-Kia pas­sen­ger car model range and is in good stead for the com­ing year, with the new Cer­ato ex­pected to ac­count for nearly half of Naza­Kia’s sales next year.

Even so, Syed Hafiz be­lieves that the to­tal in­dus­try vol­ume will be main­tained around this year’s fig­ure of 640,000 ve­hi­cles, as he feels the Malaysian car mar­ket is al­ready sat­u­rated with a lot more cus­tomers that are re­place­ment car buy­ers rather than new car buy­ers.

“Malaysia’s car mar­ket is steadily be­com­ing a buyer’s mar­ket. You will soon see car com­pa­nies launch­ing more and more vari­ants and ex­pand­ing their model line-ups next year, thus widen­ing cus­tomer choices in the mar­ket,” he con­tin­ues.

“One area that we will be ex­plor­ing next year will be the in­tro­duc­tion of an MPV model. Right now that is the only model that is lack­ing in our re­freshed range of pas­sen­ger cars.”

To spur com­pany growth next year, Naza-Kia will also be fo­cus­ing on ex­pand­ing their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing to more online plat­forms as well as car­ry­ing out more ex­pe­ri­en­tial mar­ket­ing cam­paigns.

Th­ese cam­paigns will in­volve host­ing more road­shows at shop­ping cen­tres around the coun­try, in­clud­ing Kuch­ing and Kota Kinabalu.

As part of its ex­pe­ri­en­tial mar­ket­ing ef­forts, Naza-Kia opened the first test drive cen­tre in Malaysia, lo­cated in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, where cus­tomers can book a test drive online and go there to test drive a Kia from the cen­tre.

Naza-Kia has plans to open more of such test drive cen­tres in Alor Star and Jo­hor Baru over the com­ing year.

On top of that, Naza-Kia will also be con­tin­u­ing its sports mar­ket­ing by lever­ag­ing on Hyundai-Kia’s spon­sor­ship of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Naza-Kia will be or­gan­is­ing YouTube con­tests, var­i­ous com­pe­ti­tions, and more cus­tomer en­gage­ment cam­paigns in con­junc­tion with the World Cup.

On the af­ter-sales front, Naza­Kia has been buck­ing the trend by down­siz­ing its show­room and ser­vice cen­tre count in Malaysia over the last three years.

“We have re­duced our show­room count from al­most 80 to 51, and cut our ser­vice cen­tres from 100 to 58 to­day.

The idea is to build on qual­ity rather than quan­tity,” ex­plains Syed Hafiz.

He adds that Naza-Kia is now fo­cus­ing on up­grad­ing its ex­ist­ing out­lets to adopt Kia’s new cor­po­rate iden­tity, as well as re­lo­cate some to more prom­i­nent lo­ca­tions to get more ex­po­sure.

Cur­rently 55% of its 51 show­rooms have al­ready been up­graded to 3S cen­tres, with plans to open three more flag­ship “Red Cube” 4S cen­tres over the com­ing year. This brings the to­tal “Red Cube” out­let count in Malaysia to six.

The new Cer­ato is ex­pected to ac­count for nearly half of Naza-Kia’s sales next year.

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