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12 September 2011 www.fleetnews.co.uk/SMESpecial 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

www.fleetnews.co.uk/SME September 2011 13Focus on emissionsKia is working hard to achieve a market-leading position for the CO2 emissions of its product line-up, and part of its success can be put down to the Intelligent Stop and Go (ISG) fuel-saving system.Available on selected models where the technology can deliver a significant benefit, it switches off the engine when waiting in traffic, and can restart almost instantaneously when needed again.It allows the EcoDynamics models in which it is used to further reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption from an already strong position, but in keeping with Kia's value for money philosopy it is not offered across the board as some customers, especially those whose cars will cover low mileage or are after the lowest P11D price, would rather not see higher up-front costs to reduce emissions."CO2 is now extremely competitive," says Hargreaves."The figures speak for themselves, but it's very important for our fleet customers and it's very important to us."they are on the list," says Hargreaves. "That means making cars that have a clear identity and that people want to drive. We're definitely doing that and I want company car drivers to start seeing us as a smart, quality purchase." Good product is crucially backed up by a network of 19 accredited business specialist dealers, as well as Kia's business centre.Hargreaves continues: "We had a 1.7% market share last year and we're over 2% so far this year."There is a plan to get a larger market share by the end of 2015, but we want to have a sustainable posi­tion in the market so growth will not be based on rental business."It will be based in what I call normal, mainstream ment gives Kia a huge opportunity to reach new fleet customers.But whether it's winning new business in the public or private sectors, Kia's new D-segment Optima will have a pivotal role to play."The car we've been missing in terms of our product range, especially where fleet is concerned, is a D-segment vehicle," explains Hargreaves."We didn't really have a D-segment car - a main­stream fleet product - but at the end of this year we will launch the Optima. That will not only complete our range, but it will ensure we maintain a fresh feel to the products we offer."The Optima is sure to appeal to many fleets and like the Venga, Sorento, Rio, Picanto and the Fleet News award-winning Sportage, it has Peter Schreyer's stamp on it.The highly-respected design guru joined Kia from Volkswagen in 2006 to become the manufacturer's chief design officer.Schreyer has been instrumental in Kia's rejuvena­tion into a maker of design-led, high quality, efficient cars that would appeal to retail and fleet alike.His track record includes the Audi TT, A3 and A6 and the new Beetle and Eos for Volkswagen. He also oversaw the Lamborghini Murcielago and Gallardo.But good product is one thing, getting company car drivers to pick Kia from a long list of manufacturers is another."Our challenge is not getting on to fleet choice lists, it's getting drivers to choose the cars once fleet business, whether this is user-chooser or autocratic."Its aversion to short-cycle business will help it maintain good residual values, which is especially important considering Kia's fleet aspirations.Hargreaves concludes: "When we're developing new product we're constantly asking ourselves what do we need to do to make it appealing to the fleet customer?"That starts with a good P11D value, the right level of CO2 emissions and a good level of standard spec­ification that a fleet customer wants. "I think the business we're beginning to win proves that we're getting that right and should broaden our appeal in the future."'Our challenge is not getting on to fleet choice lists, it's getting drivers to choose the cars once they are on the list." John Hargreaves, Kia's head of fleet and remarketing