The DTW difference is that we don’t just repost the news but provide incisive analyses that compound mere data into something altogether more meaningful.
This article represents an instance of our remarkable service. Autocar and Automotive News both reported on the upcoming Kia Rio by kindly showing some renderings of the planned car. Autocar also reported on the Polo showing it driving around in disguise (“camo”). Regarding the Rio, AN felt it important to tell us that the car will look sportier and that it will have a longer bonnet. In comparison to the quite fine outgoing vehicle, Kia said the new design would have a “longer wheelbase, and upright C-pillar [to] give the car a more confident and balanced appearance”. So the current car is not that confident and not balanced enough apparently. Owners must be happy to be told that. About the VW Polo, Autocar reports it’ll be a longer and lighter car. For a change, no mention is made of increased sportiness. So far so good, that’s our data: now the synthesis part.
Both the bigger, lighter Polo and sportier, more balanced Rio will come only as five door cars. 88% of customers are rejecting the three door Rio so Kia is abandoning that format. So, what we see here is the continued decline of the three door supermini. Interestingly, VAG is using the same platform across a wide range of brands so it’s peculiar they don’t hang on in the business of three door cars simply to enjoy the benefits of being the last man standing, much as Ford’s Panther platform made a good business of mopping up the last of the customers for BOF saloons (an almost two decade monopoly). In contrast the good people at Russelsheim are still offering a three door Corsa and that’s something you won’t perhaps have heard too much about.
So, in one day two examples of the trend to five door only. This means we can induce further instances of this trend: who knows, maybe Porsche will only be sold with 5 doors?
Turning back to the subjective, the Rio’s more rectilinear style has strong shades of VW’s current theme, expressed across the board from Polo to Passat, from Duisburg to Derby. The Rio’s headlamps have taken on a very Golf style and the same goes for the rear. While a lot happens between the preparation of these sketches and the finalisation of the clay models, it seems the quite distinctive and rather good Rio look has been pushed overboard in Kia’s search for sales. As it is, VW’s current style has now been implemented
and is due to change in the next two years or so. So, Kia are at risk of committing to a style that VW itself will be departing from in the mid-term. This design decision is an unusual retrograde step: Kia have been producing professional and distinctive cars for quite some time and, if my rough impression has any meaning, customers seem to like them as they are. And AN confirms the good business case made by the current car: “The Rio is Kia’s best-selling model globally, with more than 473,000 sold last year”. Of those 56,000 were three door cars.