Two reasons. The first is that we had to establish a business case for a car which, as originally planned, was to be sold only in Europe. The second is that we had to find somewhere to build it without hurting production of existing models. That became possible when we opened our new plant in Mexico in 2016 to serve American markets, freeing more production capacity at Sohari for other countries.
There is real understanding and support for the European market from our senior management in Korea. Kia Motors Europe contributes 15 per cent of all Kia sales – 400,000 units in 2017 – and where we see a further business opportunity and can argue a strong case, Korea is happy to support us.
No. There will still be a very strong place for Rio alongside Stonic, and we have been careful to ensure we can satisfy demand for both models. We have been steadily ramping up production of Rio so that the overall capacity of the line can cope with two cars. The line is very flexible, so we can easily adjust volumes according to demand.
Soul stays. Indefinitely. Venga, which is a Europe-only car built in Europe, will continue to be made until the end of 2018 at least, and we will assess its place in our line-up once we see if and how sales patterns change once Stonic is established.
There will currently be no low-grade model because Kia research has shown that take-up of such versions is extremely low. If we can get the right specification at the right price, there may be additional models. We have already been promised new and revised powertrains in 2018, and these will be available to us in the UK if we think there will be demand for them. Our seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission will also become available for Stonic in 2018, and again we will have the option of taking it.
Stonic is built on the N platform also used for Rio rather than the Hyundai Motor Group platform designed for alternative powertrains, so at this stage no form of electrification is planned. But as you know, we have a target of lowering our overall CO2 emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, based on 2014 figures, and the EU wants fleet average CO2 of 95g/km by the end of the decade, so we cannot entirely rule it out.