In the midst of a tantalizing lights and sound spectacular that’s seldom seen in local launches, the Kia brand was relaunched together with the ‘unboxing’ of an all-new subcompact, the first of three models that will be introduced in 2019.
There was a clear sense of excitement and energy from Kia Philippines, now operating under Ayala Corporation (AC) subsidiary, AC Industrials, as executives from both companies expressed excitement about the partnership and Korean automaker’s role in addressing mobility issues in the Philippines.
“I am honored to congratulate you, celebrating the historical relaunch of the Kia brand in the Philippines. Today is also the first official day for Kia to resume our business in the Philippines with Ayala group. I am proud that we have the most reliable Filipino business partner and I am confident that Ayala Group will restore the popularity of the Kia brand and strengthen resources to become one of the major brands in the market in the very near future. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my deep appreciation for all efforts both Ayala and Kia have done during the transition of the Kia business,” said Kia Motors Asia-Pacific President, Ted Lee.
Arthur Tan, Group President and CEO of AC Industrials, was absolutely beaming as he spoke about how Kia and disruptive technologies may open up more opportunities to harness the talent and skill of Filipinos in the field of production and manufacturing.
The centerpiece of the evening, right in the middle of white examples of the Sorento, Picanto, Sportage and Carnival, was the all-new Marcato Red Soluto, Kia’s latest entry into the subcompact segment.
It is powered by a 1.4-liter dual-CVVT gasoline engine that produces 95 PS of power and 132 Nm of torque, comes standard with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system (Android Auto and Apple Carplay capable), and a six-speaker system. The Soluto starts at P625,000.
“Global Kia has been growing in the last decade as we recorded historical sales growth, enhanced our design excellence and proved our world-class quality. I strongly hope to see what we have achieved globally in this promising market as well. For that, Kia provides competitive products and will do so continuously. To prove this, Kia decided to export the Soluto with the Philippines as the first export market. Today is the first official day to introduce this attractive model to Filipino customers,” added Lee.
Kia prides itself for its youthful spirit and that’s evident with their partnerships, as a major sponsor of the 2019 Australian Open and the world tour of K-pop all-girl supergroup Blackpink.
To align itself with this effort and to attract the country’s younger market, Kia Philippines President, Manny Aligada, gave away two pairs of VIP tickets to the Manila leg of the Blackpink show and announced that the Soluto will be on display at the lobby of the concert venue.
Under new management, Kia Philippines is looking to expand its current 35-dealer network in the country and fulfill the Kia Promise to Care program to improve aftersales service quality, competence and parts availability.
Kia maintains that each of their vehicles comes with a five-year or 160,000-kilometer general warranty (whichever comes first), a five-year or 150,000-kilometer anti-perforation and paint warranty, plus a one-year or 20,000-kilometer (whichever comes first) service parts warranty.
As for the next ‘unboxing’, expect the second of the three models to be unveiled at the 2019 Manila International Auto Show in April, while the third is slated for the last quarter of the year.
“We are excited to introduce Kia’s wide range of model lineup as well as a new brand of sales and service experience for Filipinos. We are delighted to partner with Kia Motors Corporation in this endeavor and we look forward to many years of working together as we reestablish the Kia brand in the Philippines,” said Ayala Corp. President, Fernando Zobel de Ayala.
By Eric Tipan