Kia dealers are seeking more tweaks to the brand’s stair-step program as the automaker continues its march toward an internal goal of 5 percent share of the U.S. market by 2020.
The brand has tweaked its program — dubbed Market Share Objective, or MSO — in recent months based on dealer feedback. But much of Saturday’s make meeting was spent discussing further adjustments dealers are looking for, according to those in attendance.
Kia’s ambitious 2020 goal has some dealers concerned about profitability being sacrificed, particularly since Kia doesn’t offer its retailers floorplanning. In 2016 Kia had 3.7 percent market share.
Recent changes include dropping the top-tier step — 115 percent of a dealer’s target — and adding a 70 percent tier at the bottom. Dealers feel that’s a step in the right direction — one of several that Kia has made recently to keep dealers happy.
But the brand’s retailers feel more changes are needed; also discussed were rules for online advertising relative to the MSO.
Also on dealers’ minds was Kia’s mix of vehicles, which was split evenly between cars and trucks in 2016 compared with an overall market that leaned 60 percent toward trucks.
Kia and its dealers are hoping the new Niro hybrid crossover will help plug that hole — particularly after a high-profile Super Bowl commercial featuring actress and comedian Melissa McCarthy.
The brand is anticipating 2017 will be another record year, topping 2016’s 647,598 vehicle sales. This is thanks largely to a full year of sales for the Sportage compact crossover and Cadenza large sedan and the introduction of the Niro. The all-new Stinger luxury hatchback will add incremental volume when it hits the market late in the year.