SEOUL, March 29 (Korea Bizwire) – Kia Motors Corp., South Korea’s second-ranked carmaker, said Tuesday that it targets to sell some 40,000 units of the Niro hybrid subcompact SUV this year as it began to sell its latest eco-friendly vehicle model here.
Known for such popular SUV models as the Mohave, Sorento and Sportage, Kia Motors has now completed its full SUV lineup with the Niro hybrid. The Niro shares its platform and power train with Hyundai Motor Co.’s Ioniq hybrid.
Equipped with a 1.6 GDI engine, coupled with a 32 kW motor system and six-speed dual clutch transmission, the Niro can produce up to 141 horsepower and a maximum torque of 27 kg-meters, the company said.
The smaller SUV has a fuel efficiency of 19.5 kmpl, lower than the Ioniq which can run up to 22.4 kmpl.
“Niro will be launched first in Europe, and then sold in the U.S. later this year,” a company official said.
With its battery placed under the rear seats, the Niro has relatively large luggage space compared with other rival models. Its 2,700 mm-long wheelbase also expands leg room for the driver and passengers, the company explained.
Kia Motors focused on improving its overall safety by applying advanced high strength steel to 53 percent of the chassis and installing seven air bags, including a knee protection air bag for the driver.
Prices of the Niro range from 23.27 million won (US$19,405) to 27.21 million won depending on trim and options, the company said.
Kia Motors said that the Niro has price competitiveness, citing tax breaks and government subsidies granted to hybrid models, which could make it up to 2.5 million won cheaper than other rival models including the market leader Tivoli of Ssangyong Motor Co.
The company added that it will develop the plug-in electric vehicle and pure electric versions of the Niro going forward to beef up its eco-friendly lineup.’