Because the demand is minuscule. With the trend for downsizing, small cars with the space and practicality of the Rio are frequently bought as the only family car these days, and buyers want the convenience and ease of access of five doors. To continue to offer a three-door car as well would have increased ordering complexity and stocking costs for dealers which would not be justified by the level of sales we could have achieved.
We have replaced the 1.1-litre diesel with a lower-powered, 76bhp version of our 1.4-litre CRDi engine. This is more refined, with four cylinders instead of three; delivers improved driveability through its considerably greater torque – 240Nm instead of 180; and is more fuel-efficient with lower CO2 emissions.
In 2015, the last full year before run-out of the previous model, we sold more than 12,000 units in the UK, and the Rio had another successful year in 2016, even though buyers were made increasingly aware that a new model was on the way. Globally, it is our best-selling car, with annual sales of around 475,000.
We are expecting almost seven out of 10 buyers to choose grade ‘2’, which is why we offer the largest variety of engines, transmissions and trim levels with this level. Grade ‘2’ is also where the greatest proportion of our fleet sales comes from, and the 1.25 grade ‘2’ model is expected to be the best-selling single version of the all-new Rio. Fleet sales will account for about 30 per cent of our Rio business, with 70 per cent going to retail customers.
There have been widespread reports that we are going to enter the small crossover market, and we have not denied – or confirmed – them. But if you want to suggest that it would be a sensible introduction for Kia, and that the Rio would form an ideal basis for such a car, we would not be upset.