KIA unveils 1-litre petrol cee'd; warns against 'knee-jerk' reaction to diesel
KIA this week unveiled a hi-tech new 1-litre petrol engine - as its Irish boss warned against a regulatory 'knee jerk' reaction to diesel in the wake of the VW scandal.
Such a reaction could hit buyers and sellers in the pocket, according to KIA's James Brooks. If EU regulators, and subsequently our own Government, suddenly hit diesel hard by hiking tax on vehicles or fuel, it will have a huge knock-on effect on the value of many secondhand cars.
The response needs to be measured and long-term. "If everyone charges towards petrol, there are implications," he said at the unveiling of the revised cee'd small-family car.
The implications include those for dealers with PCP deals that guarantee minimum prices for cars. They would have to take less to sell on those vehicles. It would be like the 2008 nightmare for owners/sellers of petrols when we switched to emissions-based motor taxation.
"We need to talk to government - especially the new one - and we have to make sure we don't bring in any knee-jerk EU policies."
His comments were in response to queries about a renewed interest in, and purchase of, petrol engines - sparked by the arrival of the excellent 1-litre 3cyl turbo in the revamped cee'd.
The 120bhp (109g/km) model slots in alongside the existing 1.4-litre petrol and 1.4-litre, 1.6-litre diesels. There is also a 7spd double-clutch transmission on the 1.6-litre diesel for first time.
Mr Brooks said there is "a notable shift" towards petrols but stressed how a 14c/litre difference at the pumps still makes diesel so attractive to so many.
All the cee'd models get styling changes and more spec with a strong emphasis on the 'ice-cube' look for GT Line and GTs.
New to the lineup is the 1-litre petrol TX and GT; 1.6GT line and 1.6EX 7spd diesel double-clutch transmission.
Prices generally are unchanged, starting at €19,650 (1.4-litre petrol).
The new 1-litre was impressive with a lot of smooth pulling power. And the new 7spd diesel double-clutch will suit those with longer commutes.
The cee'd will be followed by a new Sportage and Optima for the 2016 market with a new Picanto and Rio among several others coming by 2019. Interesting to note, the 1.6 EX cee'd is down €500 in price - and cuts road tax by €190 (to €200). People love the lower diesel price and road tax. That's what has made it king of the road - for now.