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Ambitious Kia Unveils New Rio, Plus GT Supercar Concept

Kia of Korea said it is looking to almost double sales in Europe to 500,000 by 2015 on the back of sales of its recently launched redesigned small cars the Picanto and Rio.

Kia showed it has more upmarket pretensions, showing a handsome new concept sports car, the GT.

The Rio was officialy launched at the Frankfurt show.

The GT looks stunning, but Kia designer Peter Schreyer wasn’t ready to say whether the car will be given the go-ahead.

“When I do something like this, in the back of my mind there is always a purpose. If I could get something like this into production I would buy champagne for everyone in the company,” Schreyer said.

The GT is based on a Hyundai Genesis rear-drive platform, with rear-hinged back doors. Currently there is no engine, but Kia said it is working on a 2.0 litre direct injection turbocharged petrol engine, and a twin-clutch semi-automatic gear box.

Kia officials said it will launch the D-segment Optima later this year, and the next generation Ceed in 2012. Kia said the launch of the new Rio was important for the company because it represented the last of the old Kia models, which were more about basic value for money, than modern design. According to Kia, the new Rio, which sold around 16,000 to 17,000 annually, has an improved interior, engines, equipment, and fuel economy. Kia expecte the new Rio to sell between 80,000 to 90,000 a year in Europe.

Neil Winton – September 20, 2011

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