By on February 24, 2009

This is a concept for now, but glass roof aside it’s the near-production look of a new Kia mini MPV in the continental style. And now I’m curious what it would take for this Kia to sell, say 50k units per year in the US. I’m talking MSRP, gas prices, Kia’s new stop-start system (euro only, 15 percent better efficiency), suicide doors, whatever. Keep in mind, Honda sold nearly 80k Fits last year. Kia 2008 sales are here for comparison.

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39 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: What Would It Take To Sell 50k Of These Per Year?...”

  • avatar

    $4/gallon gas, and an MSRP lower than the Fit.

  • avatar
    Point Given

    I have some familiarity with Kia buyers. A good friend is a sales manager at a Kia store.

    The Kia buyer isn’t too worried about the recession as they have no money to begin with.

    Most buyers of Kias are about payment payment payment.

    Very simply put, Zero down, $200 per month on a 60 month lease will do the trick for that sales goal.

    To attract some of the best and brightest as customers will require significantly more of everything (money included) and it’s still not assured to sell that kind of volume.

  • avatar

    MPG in the same league as the Fit, underprice the fit by $1,500-$2,000. Outdoing Honda’s measly three-year warranty would be a good bonus as well.

  • avatar

    A 15% fuel economy improvement must be based on extreme city driving.

    What it would take: a badge other than Kia. Is any Kia model selling at the rate of 50k/yr?

  • avatar

    Fit beating mileage from more realistic gearing, and a starting price that’s thousands less.

    Most importantly: it needs a 5 star review from TTAC. (wink)

  • avatar

    A couple families in the neighborhood have Ford Aspires as daily drivers and I had one myself. I also see more than a few Kia Sportages around. I think Kias are a little underrated.

    For the right combination of price, fuel economy, need and presuming decent crash test results, I’d consider that Kia. I’d also take a peek at CR and TrueDelta to see how Kias are faring, generally.

  • avatar

    Looks like a fun car. I purchased a Honda Fit in April 2008. I love this car but my son has it most of the time. I found one of the two available cars in Mpls/Stp MN. Looked at a 2009 Fit in the fall of 2008 there was a waiting list of about two months. This last week I drove by a Honda dealer that before didn’t even have one Fit to show in the past now they have 19 Fits on the lot. Even the Fit isn’t selling that well. Good luck with an off-brand version by Kia.

    A lot of the Kia buyers ARE effected by the depression because they have lost their jobs!

  • avatar

    Nothing short of a silly low price, or including the buyer’s choice of an attractive driving companion with each car will move 50k units.

    Seriously, it won’t look anything like that. The proportions will change, the colors will change the wheels would be a bad idea, and will also change which means it will look like most of the other cars in it’s class – bland. The Fit, which is a reasonably attractive little car, looked a LOT better as art and concept than it does on the street.

  • avatar

    Given their 07 and 08 sales, there’s no way Kia could sell 50k of this model unless it replaced an entire model currently in its range. And then why bother? To capture additional sales Kia needs to advertise more than price; it needs to become more than a car for people who don’t want to spend money or who haven’t got any money to spend. Maybe they need a campaign that says, Kia isn’t just about price; it’s about quality, or something like that. Lets see what the Soul does in the marketplace and if it gets a following, there may be a niche for this one too.

  • avatar

    -Starting MSRP $12,500 (between Rio & Rio5)
    -Mileage minimum 27/35 (ideally 28+/37+)
    -Gas Prices $3.25+/gal
    -A tight, comfy quiet ride
    -Big ad campaign w/ lotsa warranty talk
    -Minimum KIA badging on the car
    -Production styling damn near the concept
    -Continued terrible economic conditions

    That said, I’d buy one with less favorable terms than those I laid out, but 50,000 seems like a lot of sold cars for a first-year Kia. It’s a damn sharp looking car, and as a proud former owner of an Aspire, i likes me some micro-Kia.

  • avatar

    Go the Dacia Logan route: make it super simple and super inexpensive. I get the feeling that, economy aside, people are ready for a simple, durable, inexpensive car without a bunch of bells and whistles on it.

  • avatar

    I’m thinking that with the new Soul and now this car, it may be more than just cheap people buying Kias. And even cheap people might like some style in their choices.

    To answer the question :
    – priced significantly less than Honda
    – great fuel economy
    – good colour, rim, stereo choices

  • avatar

    This vehicle could sell in Finland, petrol is 8 euro gallon now and that is considered low priced.

  • avatar


    1. Remove KIA badge.
    2. Apply Honda badge.

    edit: M.K. beat me to the punch…

  • avatar

    If I was a military head… I’d buy these fully equipped and then use them for target practice.

    40 thousand maybe.

    50 thousand?

    Only if we upgraded to pulse plasma cannons or railguns.

    I could realisticaly blow 50K of these to pieces with a railgun.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    I definitely think “not sell the Soul” would have to be part of my answer.

  • avatar

    Pick four:

    *0-60 in less than nine seconds
    *A starting MSRP in the $13K range
    *34+ MPG highway, 29+ MPG city
    *Clever (ala Fit) interior
    *Stability control
    *Desirable technology (ala SYNC)

  • avatar

    Nissan is trying the Dacia Logan strategy with the stripper Versa sedan. Almost literally since, through the Nissan/Renault alliance, the Versa rides on a very similar platform to the Logan. In Germany the base Dacia Logan starts at 7,300 Euros (approximately $9,370). In the US the better equipped base Versa starts at approximately 7,780 Euros ($9,990).

    I would be interested in seeing the sales figures for the stripper Versa.

    With its new styling it looks like Kia is trying to take on Honda, rather than simply be bottom basement. That’s a pretty strong brand to go after, especially since Hyundai, which is supposed to be upmarket from Kia, is still trying to take on Honda with everything except the Genesis cars.

  • avatar

    This little car could face tough competition. A couple of months back I saw some info about Honda reworking a micro-car it sells in Japan for introduction in to Western markets.

    Also, my sense is we are headed for global economic apocalypse – a true dark age that may last decades. In that environment, a question like “What would it take to sell 50k of these per year?” might not make any sense, because the answer is: it won’t be thinkable under any circumstances.

  • avatar

    Kia buyers love deals… I think something unique would move this car… something like ‘$250 per month include insurance’ and partner with an esurance. I think it looks good, but it needs a tuner variant to get the enthusiast ‘trickle down’ vote…. kinda like a WRX/ base impreza strategy.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    You would have to underprice the Fit by a lot…

    The problem everyone else faces, Honda and Toyota really do get a $2K premium for being, well, Honda and Toyota: the belief that they won’t strand you by the side of the road and you won’t get continual little gremlins haunting you over the next 10 years of the car’s life.

    I had a rental corolla last week, and a rental jetta the week before. The Corolla’s MSRP was within spitting distance ($500) of the Jetta, but the Jetta had a much better engine (40? 50? hp more), transmission (6 speed vs 4), interior (modern blue vs garish blackface guages, better ergonomics), trunk (non-impinging vs impinging hinges, bigger), more solid (rain on the corolla’s roof sounded like a bad tin roof) and was all around a VASTLY better car.

    Yet the corolla sells for nearly the same price (actually MORE when you consider discounting), and in much bigger numbers.

    The same would apply to the Fit and this Kia. Kia would have to sell it for $2K cheaper than the Fit with the same equipment, or have vastly more equipment (eg, Nav system in a $16k car) for the same price.

  • avatar

    Might do even better as the next gen Accent. Hyundai needs to scrap Kia, and focus on its primary brand.

    I love the direction that Kia was headed, but it cannot possibly establish itself under the market conditions of the next 5 years. This car, and the Soul could contribute more as Hyundais, and the rest of the lineup are more or less expendable.

  • avatar

    I agree with everything you said except the Jetta was “all around a VASTLY better car.” My three friends who drive Jetta’s constantly gripe about the troubles that they have with them. From niggling little problems to major failures, I hear a constant stream of woe.

    The Toyota is inferior in every way, but I have never heard an owner of a Corolla complain about his/her car.

    I would expect a high-strung Ferrari to be trouble, not a modestly priced daily driver sedan.

  • avatar

    Its a nice looking car. However, gas would have to be much more expensive, and it would have to be priced somewhat below the Fit, Yaris, Versa and the Fiesta.

    That assumes that the powertrain and overall quality is as good as those listed above.

  • avatar

    no_slushbox :

    Selling a cheap stripper Versa at a bargain-basement price isn’t necessarily following the Dacia Logan model. Part of what makes a Logan a Logan (and a success) it that they don’t try to make it something it isn’t. There are no pretenses with the Logan. It is just a simple honest utilitarian car. I can’t say how reliable they are however, but there is something intriguing about the concept.

  • avatar

    The problem I see is that Kia has multiple vehicles in this size. The Kia Rio hatchback is 158.1″ long, the upcoming Kia Soul is 161.6″ long, and the Kia Spectra hatchback is 171.3″ long. Unless Kia drops the hatchback version of the Rio (and probably that of the Spectra as well), I don’t see how Kia can sell the 159.2″-long No3 hatchback in numbers anywhere near 50,000 vehicles per year in the US market (the Rio and Spectra combined for 104,997 US vehicle sales in 2008, but this included both hatchback and sedan sales of both nameplates).

  • avatar

    This one’s easy: establish a reputation as a maker of inexpensive, reliable cars with a great dealer support network, then wait until a generation of people who were born after Kia came into existence get old enough to start buying cars.

    Hey, it worked for Honda…

  • avatar

    Price it well:

    Undercut the Fit by 10% AND throw in a bluetooth and nav system or maybe a Sync imitation cobranded with LG or Samsung.

    Support it well:

    Give it a long bumper to bumper warranty like the sister products from Hyundai.

    Change the business model:

    offer packages with all standard and scheduled maintenence for a monthly fee, making the car business a perpetuity. Guarantee work at any Hyundai/Kia dealership on the plan and taking the risk out of ownership. As someone else said, partner with an insurance company to provide one package, one monthly bill.

    “Your loan payment is $250, your monthly Kia maintenence package is $50 and includes oil changes, tire rotation, new tires at 40k miles and free XM radio with traffic mapping. Would you like some insurance from a Kia partner with that?”

  • avatar

    i think there’s enough ‘buzz’ around these new Kia models like the Forte/Soul/Sorrento and the VG that I don’t think they really care

    i think they started off bad with the Carnival/Sedona engine blowups and the lacklustre old catalog of cars but these new models under Peter Scheyrer is a turnaround

    i am kinda surprised they have the balls to introduce cars like the Borrego and the new VG… I wouldn’t think the SUV and large FWD sedan market is all that healthy

  • avatar

    I’ll tell you what I’d do. Two cars at the same time, man. Of course they’d have to be cheap, those kinds are the only ones that would double up on a dude like me…

    B.O.G.O. for the win!

  • avatar

    -Some serious dosh paid for adverts in mainstream magazines who can then compare it to the Fit in an objective way.

    -Some cool advertisements starring some goodlooking Korean females on TV. I hear advertisement space comes cheap these days anyway so why not…

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    no_slushbox :
    In Germany the base Dacia Logan starts at 7,300 Euros (approximately $9,370).

    Which includes 19% VAT, so it’s more like 6,100€ really or app. $7,900.

    In the US the better equipped base Versa starts at approximately 7,780 Euros ($9,990).

    The cheapest version of the Tiida (which is the Versa’s name in most markets) costs at leats 16,350 EUR in Germany with the 1.6 engine. (13,700 EUR without the VAT)
    Those simple stampings of the Logan really do wonders for cost saving.

  • avatar

    What ruckover said about the Jetta.

    Veedub pops out great cars from the production line. Then it’s all immediately downhill from there. Ask any Passat owner of the last ten years:

    “Great car. It’s been the shop for –insert series of minor and not-so-minor problems here– but other than that, it’s been a great car.”

    It’s akin to the Monty Python piece in Life of Brian about “What Have the Romans done for us?”

    Again, the Jetta might be a great car to rent, it’s a shitty car to own.

  • avatar

    We had our 04 Kia Sedona in for some recall work and maintenance and they had a Soul in the showroom. If Kia can produce more cars like the Soul (styling, interior quality was way up over their other small cars, etc) they will be able to move more vehicles. I was impressed with the Soul and like the looks of their newer vehicles that are in the pipeline.

    The dealership bent over backwards for us too – they provided a loaner, full tank of gas, kept us up to date constantly on what was going on with the van – it was such a drastic difference compared to when we visit the Pontiac/GMC dealership for anything related to our 04 Grand Am.

  • avatar

    Access to credit.

  • avatar

    That car looks to me like a Ford Fiesta clone (the new one).

    Positioning it as a Fiesta clone for less money would do the trick.

    Just the usual Japanese/Korean/Chinese way.

    The new Fiesta is coming to the US next year…

    Because going head on against Yaris or Fit just won’t cut it.

  • avatar

    I know Hyun / Kia are going to sell to anyone and everyone they can to get sales. They also will steal anyone’s designs and butcher them to the point where my eyes start to bleed.

    They did it to the last gen Accord for the rear clip of the Sonata.
    They are bringing out a compact with the same front clip as the CIVIC.

    This POS looks like they went over the S-Max and C-MAX with a FINE tooth comb and stole every damn idea they could.

    As for as them selling this…
    I know they are going to cancel one of the existing lines, probably the Accent and put this in its place. I dont actually think it will be hard, but the people who buy these things, wont want an do-das. They dont want extras, and or add-ons.

    They are going to want the most basic car they can get.

    It will be silver, with 15’s, with no options priced at 13g and for a payment of about $79 a month for 72mo and $400 down.

    What people will get when they purchase something that looks like this.. will not look anything related to this.

    People who buy Hyun / Kia, dont want options, they dont want design, they wont want color choices, they dont want to even think about mait. or upkeep or even putting gas in the damn thing.

    But they want that blanket warranty, cause they dont know a damn thing about cars.

    And they want it cheap — so this will work.. but IN A SHELL OF WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE now.

    Ya couldnt drag MY body DEAD or ALIVE, KICKING AND SCREAMING into a Hyun / Kia dealership.. if they truely were the last people on the face of the planet and my Accord somhow konked out at about 999,999 miles… right in front of a Hyun / KIA shop.

    I happen to really like the look of the car, but if I wanted a copy of the S-Max / C-Max (which it is).. Id buy the car from FORD.

  • avatar

    # Accords: And.. I happen to really like the look of the car, but if I wanted a copy of the S-Max / C-Max (which it is).. Id buy the car from FORD.

    So would I – if Ford would sell the damn things in the USA. I remain frustrated with the number of good products they and GM sell everywhere else but don’t sell here -OR- like the Astra they refuse to promote the product (even avoiding it Saturn commercials) and then will likely declare it a failure when it doesn’t sell by the hundreds of thousands.

    I once owned a Hyundai Excel. Basic-basic-basic wheels. I don’t mind basic. I DO want quality though.

    Wouldn’t been too bad but it also had some issues that did not give me much confidence in it. To be honest the previous owners were not very good to it either but by the time I sold it I had made everything right again. Said I’d never own another Hyundai. I’d consider them now. They’ve come a long way and I wish car makers like GM would build a product like Hyundai’s now. Good lean and sporty looks, Good specs. Good price. Not sold on the long term quality which continues to be my issue with GM’s products too. Will stick with my 100% reliable Honda a while longer too.

  • avatar

    Every automaker.. who doesnt have shits faith in the sales of decent cars in the US only sells their shit here (Current Accord, Civic and or FIT)

    And leaves the good shit at home (JDM Accord, Civic hatch and Type R alogn with a bevy of other good lookign and powerful vehicles.)

    As for as the Ford S-Max and C-Max goes…
    They are coming to the U.S I know for a fact that a factory has been converted to make the new Focus and the lines that run off of it (S / C MAX).

    As far as this imposter goes, I’d rather die than drive a Kia. Id certainly rather drive a 20yr old Accord with 400k on the odo than this shit bag.

    Ya dont buy a Kia for design.
    ya dont buy a Kia for resale.
    Ya dont even buy a Kia for nice transportation.

    Ya buy a Kia cause its cheap
    Ya buy a Kia cause its got that blanket warranty that prevents ya from having to do anything to it other than put gas in the sumbitch.
    Ya buy a Kia cause ya can afford it.
    Ya buy a Kia cause somehow.. Honda and Toyota dont make a car you want…

    And the domestics are just too fuckin stupid to see the writing on the damn wall.

    And this car..
    In its 15″ steelies
    With the silver paint
    And the boring roof
    With the loaded int (features that are standard of course) hvac, mp3, etc, etc..
    And boring front clip..
    And 13,5– price tag with a blanket warranty.. is what people will buy.

    And Im sure it will sell.

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