Kia Rio becomes another small car victim of the SUVs success and has been axed in markets across the globe including Australia.
The Kia Rio will exit the Australian market, Kia Australia has confirmed. Responding to news from Automotive Daily Network partner Autocar that the model will stop production for right-hand drive in the UK later this year, the local arm told us:
“The next (7th) generation Rio will not be produced in RHD.
“The award-winning Rio has been a tremendous car for Kia in the Australian market with 162,494 sold since its debut in mid-2000. While the Rio nameplate will not continue locally, Kia does continue to offer its popular Picanto and Cerato ranges, with new models across various segments currently under study for our market.”
The European-spec Rio, which is produced at Kia’s Sohari factory in South Korea, will no longer be shipped to RHD markets, with the higher-riding (but closely related) Kia Stonic crossover lined up to serve as an alternative for buyers in the segment.
The Korean manufacturer, which turns 80 next year, suggested that the continued trend towards compact crossovers resulted in a drop in demand for the low-slung Rio.
The firm also said to one of our partner publications overseas: “Aside from Rio development, Kia remains fully committed to the ‘small car’ A- and B-segments.” Its current A-segment car is the Toyota Aygo X-rivalling Kia Picanto, which accounted for 10% of the company’s overall UK sales in 2022 and was the UK’s third best-selling A-segment car that year.
Kia would not give a specific date for the end of Rio production but it is not expected to import any more examples.
The Rio is one of several hatchbacks retiring as tighter emissions rules take hold and buyers migrate to taller SUVs with similar footprints. The Ford Fiesta’s demise is the headline of 2023, with the Ford Puma poised to take its place as the entry point into the Ford line-up.
The future of the B-segment Volkswagen Polo has also been brought into question, owing to Euro 7 emissions rules adding to the cost of producing a small car, according to VW boss Thomas Schäfer.