With an extensively redone Cerato now in the showrooms, Kia’s local importer Al Majid Motors reckons it can win over more retail buyers in the crucial mid-market category. Until now Cerato’s biggest draw has been from within the fleet market.
The new Cerato, available in 1.6- and 2-litre, starts from Dh54,900 and goes up to Dh69,900 for the all-options version. The high-end model is only for retail buyers. Cerato goes head on against Toyota’s Corolla, Nissan’s Sunny and Hyundai’s Elantra among other models in a category which has been growing at near 30 per cent annually, according to market feedback.
“The new shape — which is more in sync with the prevailing design parameters — is critical to getting a broader interest for the Cerato,” said Mohammad Khader, president of the dealership. “In the week since the new version has been available, we have secured fleet deals and receiving interest from individual owners.”
The take-up on the Cerato is crucial to Al Majid Motors meeting a target of 15,000-16,000 Kia units this year. Last year, it sold just under 13,000 units, with Cerato more than 2,000 units. The bestseller in the local Kia line-up continues to be the Sportage, the compact crossover.
“Sportage makes up 30-35 per cent of Kia’s volumes in the UAE and it could have been better if not for the lack of enough supplies coming from the plants,” said Khader.
At the moment, all Kia models shipped into the UAE are from the plants in Korea. There are no plans to try and source from factories in other geographies to meet demand short falls, he added.
Al Majid Motors had earlier launched Kia’s top-of-the-line model, Quoris, priced in the Dh179,000-Dh219,000 range, though the prices were dropped slightly in a marketing push. It represents Kia’s first attempt at trying to break into the luxury end of the car market here. “The early numbers exceeded our targets and we are confident about building up a base,” said Khader.
While working on the model line-up, the dealership also confirmed plans for a possible new showroom in Dubai. The intention is to have a location on Shaikh Zayed Road, but land will have to be acquired and the project will also need to get board approval. “By mid-year we should have taken a decision on this; it will complement the recent openings we had in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah,” the official added.