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Exciting and stylish new products boost Kia's business car rangeFleetNewsSmall Fleet Reviewpractical advice for buying and running company vehicles ???? ???? september 2011 £2.25SPECIAL REPORTA special promotion in association with

12 September 2011 report KiaImproved Kia emerges as a serious fleet playerKia is tapping into the rising demand from fleets for more efficient and environmentally-friendly cars.It has already achieved success in the fleet sector, doubling its UK market share from 0.85% to 1.71% in the space of just five years.However, it has no intention of resting on its laurels. The Korean manufacturer has mapped out ambitious plans for the next five years, including a threefold rise in fleet sales, giving it a 4.1% share of the market.To put that into context, only six carmakers currently exceed a 5% market share in fleet.This year the target is 2% and the plan importantly involves a swing in the retail-fleet mix from 70:30 to 60:40.Product will drive the increase, supplemented by a strengthened fleet department headed by former Citroën national fleet sales manager and Motability manufacturer account manager John Hargreaves.Hargreaves has a 21-year track record in fleet and joined Kia in February charged with developing strategy, processes and systems behind the company's UK fleet sales ambitions and used car operations, including the approved used scheme."People see Kia as an emerging brand, still a value for money brand, but confident in the quality of the product, especially with our seven-year warranty," says Hargreaves. "Up until a year ago, Kia was not regarded as an aspirational brand but I think products like the Sportage have totally changed people's perceptions."We have moved from a cost-based brand to one that is not only well-priced, but also reliable and we are a manufacturer that is making desirable cars."Kia boasts one of the youngest product ranges in the fleet sector, welcoming new models in the city car (Picanto), small car (Rio) and family car (Optima) segments this year."One of the incredible things about Kia is how young the product range is," says Hargreaves. "Our smallest car is the new Picanto, which was launched in June. "Meanwhile, the oldest car we've got in our range is the Rio, which will be replaced in September."With a three-cylinder, 1.1-litre diesel engine under its bonnet, the next-generation Rio supermini model has market-leading tailpipe emissions.There will be four power units to choose from, including another diesel with four cylinders. The car will appeal to fleets such as local authori­ties, health authorities and those in service industries who travel high annual mileages within local areas.Crucial to that public sector appeal has been winning a place on the vehicle purchase framework agreement from Buying Solutions - part of the Efficiency and Reform Group within the Cabinet Office.With an overall fleet in excess of 100,000 cars across the public sector, this framework agree­Improved design and efficient engines makes Korean manufacturer a viable option for fleets1.71% Kia's fleet market share in 201085 CO2 emissions (g/km)of the next generation Kia RioOptima: Kia's D-segment offering will be launched later this year