Kia Australia to continue offering manual transmissions: No plans to discontinue them

Kia Australia to continue offering manual transmissions: No plans to discontinue them

Kia Australia Plans to Continue Offering Manual Transmissions Despite Changes to Kia Stonic Lineup

Kia Australia is standing firm in its commitment to providing manual transmissions in its lineup, even as it prepares to phase out the manual variants of the Kia Stonic city SUV. The decision to axe the most affordable manual options for the Stonic comes as Kia Australia moves towards standardizing a 1.0-litre turbo engine across the range.

Roland Rivero, Kia Australia’s General Manager of Product and Training, explained that the move to streamline the Stonic lineup and remove the manual transmission option is in line with the transition to the more powerful turbo engine. This change is expected to result in a slight increase in the base price of the vehicle.

While the manual transmission option will no longer be available for the Stonic, Kia Australia is still offering manual options for other models in its lineup, such as the Picanto and Sportage. Mr. Rivero mentioned that the decision to include manual transmissions in certain models is strategic, allowing Kia to offer entry-level models at competitive prices.

Kia Australia’s CEO, Damien Meredith, noted that the importance of keeping a low entry price point to attract budget-conscious buyers is diminishing as the brand’s awareness grows stronger. Despite this, the decision to continue offering manual transmissions is driven by consumer demand and the ability of the factory to supply them, as well as compliance with Australian Design Rules.

Data provided to Drive revealed that manual transmissions accounted for only a small percentage of sales for Kia models in Australia in 2023. However, Kia Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Dennis Piccoli, emphasized that as long as there is demand for manual transmissions from customers, Kia will continue to offer them.

Overall, the trend towards manual transmissions is declining across the industry in Australia, with only a small percentage of passenger cars and SUVs sold featuring a manual gearbox. Despite this, Kia Australia remains committed to providing manual transmission options for as long as there is market demand.

In conclusion, while the automotive industry is evolving towards automatic transmissions, Kia Australia is bucking the trend by persisting with manual options for now. As long as there is demand from consumers, Kia is willing to supply manual transmissions in its vehicles.