A five-star ANCAP safety rating remains an important goal for Kia Australia when introducing new models, but it nevertheless plans to continue selling the Picanto and Stonic after their scores have lapsed.

    While ANCAP safety ratings aren’t a requirement to sell a car in Australia – vehicles are only required to meet Australian Design Rules or ADRs – carmakers often target achieving the highest possible score.

    While this can be a boon for marketing, many large companies also require a car to have a minimum safety rating to be included on their fleets.

    Kia Australia’s product planning general manager Roland Rivero says it’s these factors which determine whether it brings in cars that may or may not achieve a five-star rating.

    “Ultimately, we’ll let the customer in the market decide,” Mr Rivero told CarExpert

    “Whether we like it or not, there’s a big fleet and government fleet, not-for-profit, and some of the big corporates that you can’t get on the shopping list [unless you have a five-star rating].

    “If there’s any interest to at least tap into those kinds of customers, you have to do what’s required.

    “The [upcoming Tasman] ute was an example. That was one of the non-negotiables for us. We had to get to a five-star ANCAP because there’s a heavy fleet component for selling utes.”

    Despite this heavy focus on a five-star result for some models, Kia allowed the Picanto’s safety score to lapse in December 2023.

    Its rating was removed as a result of ANCAP introducing a six-year limit on ratings.

    While minor updates can be made and cars can be retested, this isn’t a concern for Kia, which also plans to allow the Stonic’s five-star rating to lapse from December this year.

    Last year, the Picanto accounted for 7706 of Kia’s 76,120 Australian sales in 2023, while the brand also sold 6983 Stonics.

    Combined, the two models accounted for almost 20 per cent of the brand’s local deliveries. 

    “[The] Picanto, its ANCAP rating lapsed December last year, Stonic’s ANCAP rating will lapse December this year. I can tell you right now that there’s no plans to get rid of those two products in the current model range,” Mr Rivero added.

    “It’s a case-by-case basis… We assess every product line in terms of its merit and business case in this market, and if we see that it has merit and a business case we’ll bring it in.

    “It’s not only an ANCAP matter that determines the fate of a model.”

    Outside of the now unrated Kia Picanto, the brand’s only model currently on sale without a five-star rating is the Cerato, which received four stars in 2019 for its S and Sport variants. However, the Kia Cerato Sport+ and GT (as well as the S and Sport with an optional Safety Pack) have five-star ratings.

    MORE: Everything Kia PicantoStonic

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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