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Kia offers driver training with every fleet vehicle

Date: 26 July 2006

Fast-growing fleet brand Kia is to offer driver training for every car it puts into fleet, according to new head of corporate sales and remarketing Bob Austin.

As of September 1, every Kia car going to a fleet customer will come with a day's Institute of Advanced Motorists training. The Korean company is pledging a long-term commitment to the scheme by promising that training will be offered on a new Ford Focus rival that will be launched next year.

"This is a good indication that Kia is serious about fleet," said Austin, who predicted a "conservative" 70% take-up from company car drivers.

Kia used last week's British Motor Show press day to reveal pictures of its new lower-medium car that's due for launch at the turn of the year. Still known by its ED codename at this stage, the car will be launched with 1.4, 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol engines, and a new 1.6 diesel, while Kia expects the car to contribute 6000 of the targeted 15,000 fleet sales in 2007. The five-door hatch will be joined by an estate in September 2007, and a three-door three months later.

The company is also about to invite its dealer network to sign-up as fleet specialists. Austin expects 20-25 of the company's 143 dealers to apply. "It will raise the bar for Kia to have retailers capable of dealing professionally and efficiently with fleet customers," he said.

Austin also predicted that Kia won't look for more than 30-35% of its sales from fleet. Within that he's wary of taking on too much short-cycle trade, looking for daily rental and courtesy car to take no more than about 15% of Kia's fleet volume.

The company's volume target is 100,000 by 2010, which means fleet sales of 30,000-35,000, putting Kia up towards the levels achieved by Citroen or Honda, and a significant jump from 2005's 14,899 units to fleet.