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(LEAD) Kia launches entry SUV Seltos

All News 11:55 July 18, 2019

(ATTN: CHANGES lead; ADDS sales target in 4th para)
By Choi Kyong-ae

YEOJU, South Korea, July 18 (Yonhap) -- Kia Motors Corp. on Thursday launched the all-new Seltos SUV in South Korea to gain a bigger share in the global compact SUV market, which has more than doubled in the past five years.

The Seltos went on sale in Korea before being shipped to India, China and other global markets. Last month, Kia unveiled the entry SUV model in India.

"The Seltos is unrivaled in terms of design and performance. It will be a game changer in the highly competitive global compact SUV market," Kia Executive Vice President Kwon Hyug-ho said in the statement.

The country's second-biggest carmaker by sales said it aims to sell 40,000 Seltos models annually.

Kia has strengthened its SUV lineup with competitive models to take advantage of rising demand for recreational vehicles. Kia's SUV lineup is composed of the flagship Mohave, midsize Sorento, compact Sportage, subcompact Stonic, Soul boxcar and Niro hybrid models.

The Telluride is sold only in North American markets. It is produced in Kia's U.S. plant and was launched in the U.S., the world's most important automobile market, last year.

The Seltos, developed under the project name "SP2", comes in two versions -- one with a 1.6-liter turbo gasoline engine and a fuel efficiency of 13 kilometers per liter and the other with a 1.6 diesel engine and a fuel economy of 18 km/l.

Both engines are equipped with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT). The dual clutch gearbox is quicker in terms of response when driven hard compared to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox.

The Seltos is the first Kia vehicle that comes with a Bose sound system and boasts of dozens of safety features such as forward collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, safe exit assist and driver attention warning systems, the statement said.

It sells at a starting price of 19 million won (US$16,000), and the price tag goes up to 26 million won depending on options.

Kia has received pre-orders for 5,100 Seltos models as of Thursday.

Last week, Hyundai Motor Co., which owns a 34 percent stake in Kia, introduced the entry-level Venue SUV in the domestic market after launching it in India last month.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales sold a combined 614,943 vehicles in the January-June period, down 7.5 percent from a year earlier due to weak sales in China, the world's largest auto market.

This photo provided by Kia Motors shows its entry-level SUV Seltos. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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