The Power to Surprise: Kia’s tagline has never failed to deliver beyond expectations.
For instance, for the Mindanao Launch of its new Kia Soluto, Kia Philippines chose Cagayan de Oro.
“We chose Cagayan de Oro because it is the gateway to Mindanao,” said Manny A. Aligada, Kia PH President in an exclusive interview at the sidelines of the Mindanao launch.
Since Ayala Automotive took over the reins for Kia in the Philippines from Columbia Motors Corporation last December 5 under the business style Kia Philippines, it has quietly implemented upgrades to the existing lineup without much fanfare.
“We’re rationalizing the lineup. We reviewed the segments, and when we saw the Soluto is gonna be available, then we said that is the main driver of the lineup that we will be carrying here in the Philippines this time. So it’s a totally new model for the small sedan segment,” Aligada said.
In another surprise departure from the usual industry launch, Kia PH chose not to roll out the top of the line variant of the Soluto for its Mindanao launch, choosing instead to exhibit all four available trims: the base 1.4 LX manual, 1.4 LX automatic, 1.4 EX manual, and 1.4 EX automatic.
“This is a good first car or second car if you already have regular cars for the family. So we priced it at a level that would be so accessible. We are excited and we think this is gonna be about half of Kia’s sales this year,” Aligada added confidently.
Introduced just last January 30, the Soluto is a vivid demonstration of how AC Automotive’s subtle yet aggressive strategy to refresh the excitement of Kia PH lineup.
For its entry level 1.4 LX manual model priced at P625, 000. none of its competitors at this price range can match its standard features such as steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth, USB Port, auxiliary port a seven-inch touch screen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, four speakers and two tweeters plus a reverse camera. All kinds of wow indeed!
Aligada said this is indicative of the enhancement Kia Philippines will be making in all its base models that it is now offering. Besides the Soluto, the lineup now includes the Picanto, Rio hatchback, new Sportage, new Sorento and new Grand Carnival.
“While it is Korean technology, it is very European in style,” Aligada said of the new Soluto. The CBU units from Kia’s factories in China also take advantage of the Philippines’ existing free trade agreements which enables Kia PH to bring it in at a better value.
Another wow the new Kia PH has implemented is the accessibility of buyers to bank financing.
“Before the banks refused to finance or even required unusually high down payments for the Kia Brand,” Aligada disclosed. “Before the down payment was moving up to 30-40 percent and there was even a model they refused to finance. But now it’s back to 20 percent.”
And that’s not the end of surprises coming from Kia PH this year.
“We have committed to Kia to bring in three new models that have never been introduced in the Philippines. All I can tell you the next ones will not be like the Soluto or in the same range. It will be an entirely new model not yet introduced in the Philippines and it is also very popular outside the Philippines. And its name starts with the letter S,” Aligada teased. “In a matter of two weeks, we will be introducing the second surprise. And after that, within the third quarter, we will unveil the third new model.”
Tsoy Daniel B. Hipolito, Kia Cagayan de Oro Marketing Manager revealed that the Kia Soluto is already available in Kia Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Ozamiz and Zamboanga dealerships where interested buyers can test drive their preferred units.
As a climax to an already exciting evening, Aligada and Greencars Mindanao President Tony dela Fuente turned over the ceremonial key to four new Soluto owners who took advantage of the P78, 000 down payment launch offer and bought their units on the spot.
For a closer look at this new Kia Soluto, look here here.
Would wonders never cease! Indeed Kia’s Power to Surprise remains strong as ever! (Mike Baños)