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Kia puts Magentis under microscope

Under scrutiny: The Kia Magentis is being reviewed for Australia.

Declining market leaves Kia with a tough decision on Magentis

14 Apr 2009

KIA Motors Australia (KMA) says it still has not decided if it will take the facelifted Kia Magentis that was released globally more than a year ago.

KMA’s public relations manager Jonathan Fletcher told GoAuto last week: “Like all our model ranges, we continually evaluate [a model’s performance] in the market [and with] Magentis, we’re reviewing it at the moment.”

When asked if that meant Magentis would no longer be sold in Australia, Mr Fletcher said, “It could be …but there has been no decision with Magentis.”

Mr Fletcher said Kia’s product planning and sales management were working on a brief on Magentis to present to Kia’s local chief Terry Im, who will decide on the medium-size sedan’s future by June 30.

The Magentis was first seen a year ago at the 2008 New York Motor Show, and went on sale as the Optima in the US market in October. The 2009 model year update includes narrower headlamps, a new Kia ‘Schreyer’ grille and larger fog lights. The side sills and tail treatment were also mildly revised.

KMA product manager Nick Reid said: “We haven’t confirmed the facelift date yet – it’s under review.

“It’s a very tough segment to be in, because we’re up against cars subsidised by the government, basically, and medium and large cars seemed to be joined together. They’re now talking about a four-cylinder Commodore.”

KMA still has stocks of new 2007-build and 2008-build superseded Magentis to sell.

Mr Reid would not divulge Magentis stock numbers remaining in KMA’s holding yard and dealer stock.

When logging on to one new-car sales website last week, GoAuto found 44 ‘new’ Magentis at dealerships, some with prices slashed by $9000. A dozen were 2007-plated new cars with ‘zero’ kilometres.

VFACTS sales figures show that Magentis sales dropped to 60 units for the first quarter of this year, compared with 235 in the same period last year – a fall of 74.5 per cent.

The Magentis has been praised by the automotive media as being a well-rounded sedan, but it competes with many such sedans in a segment that has fallen 23 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The lack of an established identity in the market for the Magentis and its predecessor the Optima won’t help, either.

Read more:

New York show: Kia upgrades Magentis

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