VFACTS: Kia Picanto breaks sales record, demand at all-time high

Demand for Australia’s cheapest new car – and one of two new vehicles still available for less than $20,000 drive-away – is at record levels.

Australian buyers are proving there is still strong demand for new cars priced from less than $20,000 with record orders and deliveries for the Kia Picanto, one of just two new models remaining under the threshold.

VFACTS industry sales data shows 978 Kia Picanto city hatchbacks were reported as sold last month, representing a new record, and up 54 per cent on the same month last year.

Kia Australia says it is both a boost in production fulfilling existing backorders – and new orders being written at a “record level”.

South Korea’s Kia Picanto is one of two new cars priced less than $20,000 – no matter whether on-road costs such as registration and stamp duty are included – alongside the MG 3 from China, which reported 1153 sales (deliveries) last month.

Rising manufacturing and shipping costs over the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as more stringent safety requirements, and the market’s expectation for crash-avoidance technology as standard – have made sub-$20,000 new cars almost extinct.

In 2019 buyers with $20,000 to spend could choose from more than 60 vehicles across 19 models and 14 manufacturers – including Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Toyota.

Today only MG and Kia remain, with five model grades priced less than $20,000 before on-road costs, and just three model grades priced less than $20,000 drive-away (MG 3 Core auto, Kia Picanto S manual and auto).

Kia Australia says 41 per cent of Picanto sales so far this year have been the S grade – priced from $16,290 plus on-road costs ($2100 more than it was four years ago) or $18,890 drive-away with a five-speed manual, or $17,890 plus on-roads/$19,890 drive-away with a four-speed auto.

However the top seller is the better-equipped GT-Line (56 per cent of the mix), priced from $17,740 plus on-roads/$20,390 drive-away with a manual, or $19,340 plus on-roads/$21,390 drive-away with an auto.

But over the next 18 months – as new or updated models arrive – the South Korean and Chinese car makers may turn off the lights in the sub-$20,000 category for good.

An updated Kia Picanto (below) is due by the end of this year, with more crash-avoidance technology as standard that may push it above the $20,000 threshold.

Meanwhile a new MG 3 is due by the end of next year, and it will add autonomous emergency braking technology that is missing from the current model – and is required by law for all new models introduced from March this year.

The cheapest version of the current MG 3 is priced from $19,990 drive-away, after receiving its fifth price rise in two years in July 2023, amounting to a $4000 hike in four years with no new features.

It is the base-model MG 3 – the Core (without sat-nav) – that is the most popular, accounting for 55 per cent of deliveries in the first three months of last year, and helping the Chinese city hatch remain the top seller in the “light car under $30,000” category for the past three years in a row.

Kia Australia says improved supply means buyers who place a new Picanto order today “can anticipate production the following month plus shipping,” a company spokesperson told Drive.

The post VFACTS: Kia Picanto breaks sales record, demand at all-time high appeared first on Drive.

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