Marketing, News

KIA Australia has launched the updated and upgraded Carnival people-mover, and the brand still expects it to remain a popular choice for both family car buyers and businesses alike. Indeed, the company has confirmed that, for the current generation model, there has been a fairly even split between fleets and families – something it is expecting to continue, although there may be some slight changes due to the addition of a range-topping hybrid variant.

The new petrol-electric model sits at the top of the Carnival range in GT-Line trim. And it wears a significant price tag of $76,210 +ORCs, some margin above the V6 petrol GT-Line ($70,680 +ORCs) and the more popular diesel GT-Line ($72,910 +ORCs).

However, it is the entry-grade models that appeal more to fleet buyers for obvious reasons, with pricing – while having increased for this facelifted model – remaining better than many rivals with the choice of petrol V6 (from $50,150 +ORCs) or 2.2-litre turbo-diesel (from $52,380 +ORCs).

Kia Australia chief operating officer, Dennis Piccoli, acknowledged that there is still a large portion of buyers in the Carnival queue who are looking at the entry-level S grades, and they primarily buy such models for fleet purposes.

“Based on last year, it’s about 50:50,” Mr Piccoli said of the split between fleet and private for the Carnival.

“We think we’ll do 800 or 900 a month,” he said. “I think between GT-Line and GT-Line Lite will be around 30 per cent

“With the fleet activity clearly it’s around the S, which will be around 30 per cent as well,” he said. “And the rest, about 40 per cent, will be between Sport and Sport+.”

He said diesel is expected to continue to be the fuel of choice for the vast majority of customers across buyer types and confirmed that, in the previous calendar year, the figure was 90 per cent diesel, 10 per cent V6.

That is likely to carry on, at least until the brand can offer some more affordable hybrid models – which it admits it has plans to do.  However, there is a significant demand within the Korean domestic market where the HEV models account for somewhere in the region of 70 percent of Carnival sales.

Roland Rivero, Kia Australia general manager of product planning, said the business hasn’t got a plug-in hybrid model available in the Carnival, but that such a model could also join the ranks.However, Mr Rivero confirmed the brand’s plans to enhance its hybrid model line-up with more affordable Carnival HEV variants when possible.

“It’s down to supply,” he said, referring to the big demand for the hybrid powertrain in other markets.

“But with NVES being legislated, it’s going to give us a bit more negotiation power moving forward. The idea would be to grow the hybrid mix in the future,” he said. Kia’s Australian Carnival sales have dropped for the first four months of 2024 ahead of the model update. To the end of April the brand had registered 2354 units, down 38.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2023.

By Matt Campbell

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