Kia aims for Generation X with Sportage convertible

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Kia Motors America launches nationally its Sportage convertible this week via a TV-only push on cable.

The marketer is expected to spend $10 million advertising the two-door sport-utility vehicle this year.


The new model is aimed at Generation X buyers from 18 to 32, and also is expected to attract more women buyers than the larger, four-door Sportage, said Rick Weisehan, brand manager.

Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco, created a single 30-second commercial that opens as "A tour of Ed's life." It shows "Ed" chauffeuring a Gen X couple in the back seat of his Sportage. The convertible top, only covering the back seat, is down.

The spot doesn't use Kia's "It's about time everyone had a well-made car" tag, instead concluding: "It makes the world seem like a bigger place."

Mr. Weisehan said the vehicle's main competitors are the Chevrolet Tracker and Suzuki's two-door Sidekick. Although expectations are that Sun Belt dealers will probably be most interested in the vehicle, sales in colder climates also could be brisk, the executive said.


"We looked at the competition and were very surprised to find out the Chevy Tracker and Suzuki Sidekick have strong sales in Midwest markets," said Mr. Weisehan.

Kia expects to sell about 4,000 of the convertibles this year. In 1999, Kia would like to sell between 10,000 and 15,000.

The importer has said it expects to double its ad budget this year from $37 million last year.

Contributing: Alice Z. Cuneo.

Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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