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August 5, 2019

Is Kia Philippines Looking to Source More Products from China?

When Kia Philippines sourced the Soluto from China, it certainly raised some eyebrows. Will the Korean automaker start sourcing more models from there?

On the surface, this makes sense given Ayala Automotive sister company, Volkswagen has done well with the Santana, Lavida, Lamando, and Tiguan. However, Product Strategy & Planning Head for Kia, Josh Altarejos says the Soluto is a one-off.

“Sourcing the Soluto from China has mainly to do with Kia Motor Company’s decision to move the Rio sedan’s production from South Korea to Mexico,” Altarejos says. “When we looked at our product mix, we realized that there’s a gap. And because the sub-compact sedan segment is strong in the Philippines, we couldn’t ignore it.”

True enough, when the product line-up is analyzed, the Kia Soluto is the sub-compact sedan “meat” to the Picanto and Rio sandwich, both of which are hatchbacks. In addition, it’s cohesive and well-thought-of, with little to no overlaps. This is compared to Hyundai which, at least from a product perspective, created a mess out of its Reina and Accent simply because they wanted to react against Kia Philippines’ move.

With that, Kia Philippines has managed to climb into the Top 10 best-selling brands in the country with half year sales of 2,398 units. 60 percent of that (1,441) is the Soluto. The Rio sold 22 units due to extreme supply constraints, while the Picanto managed 156 units.

Moving forward, Altarejos says that all other Kia vehicles (apart from the Soluto) will be sourced from Korea including the soon-to-be-launched Seltos crossover.

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