Kia, the Korean vehicle manufacturer, is one of a number of relatively new brands all trying to increase their sales in Europe at a time when new car sales are falling.
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In the UK they have come along way, but it is a struggle. Last year Kia sold nearly 36,000 cars here, a shade down on 2005, and again for the first quarter of 2007 sales have slipped by 25 per cent.
In fairness much of this has to do with Kia Motors (UK) Limited taking a different sales and marketing stance from two or three years ago when their policy was stack them high and sell them cheap - you might remember being able to buy a Kia with a £1 deposit.
It devalued an emerging brand, led to distress selling and silly fleet deals, all to achieve market share.
Now Kia has a factory in Europe, Zilina in Slovakia to be precise, where it manufacturers European designed cars for Europe.
Their programme is to now build quality vehicles at sensible prices with less loss making fleet registration and daily rental activities.
Their vowed intent is to achieve a three per cent share of the UK's new car market, around 100,000 sales, annually. When this will be achieved they do not say but they are trying by offering modern vehicles, well priced with customer friendly warranties. Kia expects to sell in the region of 10,000 cee'ds a year in the UK.
Kia borrowed the initials of the European Economic Council, or CEE and added 'ED' for European Design, knocking out the third 'e' and replacing it with an apostrophe
Their latest and most important new model is the Kia cee'd. Yes it is spelt that way and I for one find the name unappealing. Whether people are car enthusiasts or not they do talk about their cars, it might be in the pub, at the gym, with friends or out shopping. It is a fact of life and I really do not know what the reaction would be if you told somebody you owned a cee'd.
The name, explains Kia, is because they wanted to emphasis that cee'd isn't just a Korean car adapted for Europe, but a European car that happens to come from a Korean manufacturer.
Kia borrowed the initials of the European Economic Council, or CEE and added 'ED' for European Design, knocking out the third 'e' and replacing it with an apostrophe. Their words not mine. It is 'marketing' speak gone mad.
Japanese manufacturers in the past have come up with some classic misuse of English and European words and names for their vehicles but nothing surpasses cee'd.
OK call it cee'd if they must but why use lower case letters? It has to be a negative selling point, not a positive one.
All this is a bit of a shame because the cee'd is really quite a good five-door hatchback. Estate and three door versions will follow. The car sells in what we call the C-segment: Ford Focus, VW Golf and Vauxhall Astra size and it looks not dissimilar to a Focus five-door.
Having a relatively long wheelbase and wide track the cee'd is very roomy for a five door mid sized hatchback and it has a good sized 340-litre boot as well. With the 60-40 split rear seats folded cargo space increase to a maximum of 1,300-litres.
Prices are very competitive ranging from £10,995 to £14,245 for the current 10 model line-up. There are three trim levels and four engine options, 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol units and two versions of their new European designed and built 1.6-litre turbodiesel unit with 90 and 115bhp power outputs.
A 2.0-litre turbodiesel unit will follow. The 1.6-litre petrol model can also be ordered with an automatic transmission which adds a £1,000 to the price.
In addition to roomy accommodation, smart looks and very competitive prices, another reason to put owners in seventh heaven is the cee'd's SEVEN-year bumper to bumper warranty, everything is covered from the headlights to the exhaust tailpipe say Kia.
The seven-year warranty will be very attractive to retail and fleet buyers: no worries for seven years of motoring has to be a reason to buy
This selling feature will be very attractive to retail and fleet buyers, no worries for seven years of motoring, has to be a reason to buy.
Safety features are comprehensive as well with twin front and side airbags and full-length curtain airbags are standard across the range. Two ISOFIX child-seat mounting points are fitted in the rear.
Intelligent active head restraints are standard on all models minimising the effects of a rear end collision and possible whiplash neck injuries.
The standard level of specification on the entry level S-grade models is good value for money and includes air conditioning, an air-cooled glovebox, stereo radio and CD player with MP3 compatibility, steering column and driver's seat height adjustment, front electric windows and central door locking.
GS trim models have alloy road wheels instead of steel rims, remote central locking, electric and heated door mirrors, a metallic finish to the centre facia and upgraded sound system. Top of the range LS versions gain fully automatic climate control, rear electric windows, front fog lights and leather upholstery.
So the cee'd adds up to a pretty good deal, the sum of all the parts, price, warranty, style, space, specification and driveability, makes it a strong proposition for private and business customers.
It perhaps does not have the overall refinement of some competitors but only by a very small amount. Road noise intrusion on some surfaces is quite high but it drives well, corners and handles predictably.
The diesel engine of my 1.6-litre CRDi LS test car pulled strongly and it was very responsive and ideally suited to the UK's roads and traffic and generally the engine noise was low. Kia reckon this cee'd will return 60mpg, my test car returned 45.5mpg overall and the overall cost is an attractive £14,245.
Most families will appreciate the interior space and high equipment levels and that is what this type of car is all about.
Apart from the model name I was impressed - well done Kia.
MILESTONES Kia cee'd 1.6-litre CRDi LS 5-Door Hatchback
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder common-rail turbodiesel, 115bhp and 255Nm of torque from 1,900rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual gearbox with front wheel drive
Performance: 116mph, 0-62mph 11.5 seconds, 60.1mpg (45.5mpg actual), CO2 125g/km, VED Band C £115
Insurance group: 6E
For: Warranty, spacious, high levels of specification at a very competitive price, drives pretty well
Against: The cee'd name, road noise intrusion, not as refined as some more expensive competitors