Kia’s head of fleet, John Hargreaves, talks to editor Ralph Morton about the the launch of the new Sportage and the company’s broker partner channel.
KIA had an astonishing January. The Korean car maker Kia sold 10,504 units in January, and achieved its highest-ever market share of 9.1 per cent to become the best-selling brand in the UK market. A first in its 30-year history in the UK.
The Kia Sportage – always a leasing broker favourite – placed number one overall with the Niro in third.
And looking likely to continue Sportage’s success is the launch of the fifth generation model (pictured above left).
We asked John Hargreaves, Kia’s head of fleet and remarketing, about the new car.
“A keen price is important to be a winner among brokers and thanks to an RV uplift on the new model, it will have roughly the same rentals as the outgoing model, which will counter the price uplift.”
In terms of model mix would brokers play a greater role in delivering EVs to SMEs and consumers?
“We don’t target by model, although the new Sportage will feature significantly.”
Despite such a great start, John said that brokers shouldn’t expect a bonanza year – the shortage of semi conductors would see to that.
Currently Kia has a broker partner programme with 10 leasing brokers:
- AFL Group
- Balgores Leasing
- Central Contracts
- Fleet Alliance
- Jet Vehicle Finance
- Leasing Options
- Nationwide Vehicle Contracts
- Planet Leasing
- UK Carline
Last year Kia placed 3500 vehicles through its dedicated broker partner channel.
But this year I think we may scale it down to as few as 2500 – it’s simply down to car supply.
Would John expect to expand its partner channel programme to include other leasing brokers?
“No,” he says. “We have just gone for 10 as our own guideline figure, although I should add there is no official ceiling. We have a reasonable amount of people who would like to join, but we won’t increase significantly when the supply of cars is so limited. Even when car supply levels return to normal, we won’t engage full scale with a broker programme. We’ve never done that and that will be the case in the future.”
“Brokers shouldn’t be considered a bad channel – they are an alternative channel and a very good one. But we will control access to it.”
Nevertheless, judicious procurement from dealers will help. In less than 12 months, Kia will have all-new versions of its three best-selling model ranges: 2022 will be the first full year of sales for the EV6, winner of the What Car? Car of the Year; the all-new Sportage is being launched now with petrol, diesel, HEV and PHEV powertrains; and later in the year, an all-new Niro family (including HEV, PHEV and EV) will come to market. Combined, these three model ranges are expected to account for 60 per cent of Kia’s sales.
Ralph Morton is the leading journalist in the leasing broker sector and editor of Broker News, the website which provides information and news for BVRLA-registered leasing brokers. He also writes extensively on the fleet and leasing market in both the UK and Europe.