Kia Australia has confirmed it won’t abandon the small passenger vehicle segment, despite the recent axing of the Rio small hatchback.

    Kia Australia chief executive officer Damien Meredith told CarExpert the small passenger vehicle segment has traditionally kept the company rolling.

    “I think our small passenger cars – Picanto, Rio, Cerato – formed the foundation for our growth,” said Mr Meredith.

    “[The small passenger car segment has] been really important to us, and specifically Picanto and Cerato will continue to be important to us.”

    “We are pretty confident that the Cerato and Picanto will continue to sell reasonably well over a long period of time,” added Mr Meredith.

    “They’re one of our great strengths. Where other manufacturers deserted [the small car] segment, we kept on going in those areas.”

    This essentially confirms there will be updated and new-generation versions of the Picanto and Cerato in the future.

    We already know there will be a second update to the current, JA-generation Picanto that dates back to 2017. Local sales of the updated model are confirmed to start in the fourth quarter of this year.

    Some photos of the updated Picanto recently leaked showing off its EV9-esque exterior makeover.

    At this stage there isn’t much information about a new Cerato, also called the K3 and Forte in other markets, as the current model last received a major update locally in 2021.

    As previously reported, the Kia Rio has no firm end date in Australia yet, though it’s likely an all-new model will be revealed for some markets at some point in 2023 given the current iteration went into production in late 2016.

    “Globally there is no right-hand drive for the successor of Rio,” said Kia Australia product planning general manager Roland Rivero.

    For the foreseeable future the related Stonic crossover will be a stand-in for the Rio locally.

    Kia Australia has previously said there are “new models across various segments currently under study for our market”, but it’s unclear whether Kia plans to directly replace the Rio at some point in time.

    MORE: Everything Kia Picanto
    MORE: Everything Kia Rio
    MORE: Everything Kia Cerato

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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