Kia Carnival is selling well among the range of Kia models
Kia's 7-seater pulls in crowds

THE seven-seater Kia Carnival is leading the charge by South Korean marque Kia into the Singapore car market.

"People have been streaming in before the showroom is ready. The Carnival is the top draw," said the general manager of Cycle & Carriage Automotive (C&C), Mr Nicholas Ng, yesterday.

C&C, the new Kia distributor, opened its Kia showroom at 11, Leng Kee Road yesterday, and is holding a weekend show at Takashimaya shopping centre to display its range of seven Kia models.

The Kia Carnival sells for $129,800 inclusive of a certificate of entitlement (COE).

It competes with a fellow Korean car, the Hyundai Trajet, which sells for $118,900 with a COE.

But the Carnival has a bigger engine capacity of 2,500 cc against the Trajet's 2,000 cc.

Another Kia multi-purpose vehicle, the 1,800-cc Carens, is aimed at car buyers who prefer a smaller version. It is priced at $110,800.

A rival to the Carnival would be the 2,400-cc Mitsubishi Chariot, said market observers. Some parallel importers have priced it at around $133,000.

Higher on the price scale but made with German flair is the 1,800-cc Opel Zafira, which was launched a week ago.

This multi-purpose vehicle sells for $121,888.

C&C managing director Cheah Kim Teck said he expected competitors to show "no mercy" to Kia but C&C would offer excellent after-sales service, among other things, to win customers.

The other Kia cars range from the 1,500-cc Sephia sedan which sells for $77,800 to the four-wheel drive Sportage (2,000 cc) which sells for $121,800.

C&C was appointed the Kia distributor after the previous agent, Auto Asia, ran into financial and legal troubles.

It targets to sell 2,000 Kia cars in the first year.