[THE INVESTOR] Kia Motors, Korea’s second-largest automaker, is planning to launch its new Stonic compact SUV in July, following the release of Hyundai Motor’s Kona in June.
“The Stonic will be released in July,” Kia Motors Vice Chairman Lee Hyong-keun told reporters on May 10 at the headquarters in Seoul.
“There is only one-month difference in release date with Hyundai’s compact SUV Kona. We hope (Hyundai) does well first.”
Earlier this year, spy shots of the Stonic undergoing cold weather tests in Europe were leaked. The car is said to have taken design cues from Kia’s latest subcompact sedan Rio model and shares similar specifications.
Kia Motors' Rio
The Stonic will come in three engine variants -- 1.6-liter gasoline, 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines. Kia is also planning to launch an electric version of the model next year, according to industry sources.
The new entry will face fierce competition in the small SUV segment currently led by three big sellers -- SsangYong Motor’s Tivoli, Kia’s Niro and Renault Samsung’s QM3. Last year, 107,000 compact SUVs were sold in the local market, with the top seller Tivoli selling 28,886 units.
Industry watchers expect the compact SUV market to expand to 120,000 units by 2022.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)