Kia boss Michael Cole says he expects less than 10 per cent of the new Kia Stonic’s sales to be diesel-engined as Kia look to deliver more electrification.
The new Kia Stonic is a car which is right on the Zeitgeist, offering a compact and appealing urban SUV to mop up sales in a market which sees no signs of flagging.
Offered with a choice of an entry-level 1.4 litre petrol engine, a zippy 1.0 T-GDi or a 1.6 litre diesel you would, certainly until recently, have expected the diesel option to be the big seller. But it seems not.
Speaking to Automotive News, Kia’s European COO, Michael Cole, has said Kia expect less than 10 per cent of the Stonic’s sales to be with a diesel engine, with the big seller the 1.0 litre petrol turbo.
Considering the small SUV market was getting on for 50 per cent diesel in 2016, that’s quite some turnaround as buyers fall out of love with diesels after #dieselgate and the flack surrounding real world emissions of NOx and particulates from diesel.
That presents a big problem for car makers – with their big investments in ‘Clean’ diesel technology – and Michael Cole says it does represent a real challenge for Kia.
Although he says diesel will continue to play its part – particularly in markets like Italy and Portugal – Kia will need to deliver more electric, plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids to keep the market happy.
To that end, Cole says Kia will expand its hybrid and plug-in hybrid offerings in the next two years, as well as offering more BEVs (although not the Stonic, apparently) to fill the gap left by the flight from diesel.
All of which could be given additional impetus in the UK if the Chancellor announces additional taxes for buyers of diesel-engined cars in the Budget this month, as is expected.