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Kia's three-fold Euro fleet growth plan

Date: 22 October 2010   |   Author:

The Kia Sportage has been the brand's 'biggest breakthrough' in fleet

Korean brand Kia is plotting a Europe-wide three-fold increase in its fleet volumes from a current level of 50,000 to around 150,000 units per year by 2014.

"It will be largely new product-driven, as we extend the range and the breadth and relevance of the range, we're becoming more attractive to bigger fleets," Kia's European sales vice president Bernard Bradley told BusinessCar.

He said the company is looking to double its dedicated fleet headcount in its subsidiaries across Europe in the next 18 months, although that won't be the case in the UK as it is already "the most developed" fleet market in Europe. The firm is also on the verge of appointing a European fleet and remarketing manager.

"We're developing pan-European agreements with a number of leasing companies," said Bradley. "They see the Kia brand developing and see it as an opportunity to give more diversity to their portfolio and spread the risk." He said Kia is now getting requests for pan-European tenders, something that the firm "wouldn't have been considered for three years ago". Bradley sees Kia's fleet share across Europe rising from its current 20% to around 35% of its volume in the next four or five years.

"The UK fleet team headcount isn't too bad, but we probably need to increase it slightly next year," said UK fleet boss Andrew Sellars, indicating that he'd like another field-based member of staff to take it to six, and a second person on the contract hire team.

"One of our strengths at the moment is that we don't do shonky deals. We want business that will ensure the RV remains strong, as today's discount is tomorrow's depreciation," said Sellars. "If we can hold out and have the nerve not to entertain silly deals to do market share, the whole-life cost proposition will win and we are selling the whole-life cost proposition to people.

"It's important to have a strong contract hire offering," continued Sellars. "Compared to its competitors, the Ceed is £40-£50 per month cheaper thanks to lower P11D and higher RVs."

Sellars claimed the striking new Sportage small 4x4 model has broken new ground for Kia. "The hardest thing is getting onto choice lists and with Sportage we've been getting calls, people asking how they get it put onto their company car choice lists," he said. "The biggest breakthrough for us is Sportage."

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