Kia Motors aims to sell 40,000 hybrid SUV Niro this year

Kia Motors aims to sell 40,000 hybrid SUV Niro this year

Kia Motors launched its first hybrid compact sport utility vehicle Niro on Tuesday, targeting sales of 40,000 units worldwide this year.

“We have set a goal of selling 18,000 units of Niro domestically and 20,000 cars globally, targeting young singles and couples in their 20s and 30s,” said Kim Chang-sik, executive vice president of domestic sales, at the launch of Niro in Seoul.

The hybrid vehicle is seen as Kia’s push to set it apart from strong players in the local compact SUV market, already dominated by SsangYong’s Tivoli and Renault Samsung’s QM3. The two models have a combined share of nearly 80 percent in the fast-growing small SUV market here.

The small SUV market in Korea is expanding as local consumers are increasingly opting for economy and practicality. With sales of 86,000 units, the market saw a 195 percent rise in 2015 from the previous year.

With its hybrid powertrain system, Niro boasts the highest fuel economy among SUVs produced locally. It has a combined fuel economy of 19.5 kilometer per liter, with 20.1 kilometers per liter in city mileage and 18.7 kilometers per liter on the highway.

As for the price, Niro is similar to or a little higher than its rivals. The new hybrid SUV ranges from 23.1 million won ($19,000) to 27.1 million won, compared to Tivoli’s 16 million won to 24 million won and QM3’s 22.3 million won to 25.3 million won.

In terms of performance, Niro is powered by a 1.6-liter “Kappa” GDI engine, paired to a 32 kW electric motor and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

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