| The Carnival, one of the most popular Korean-made minivans in the country, has come back for the first time in nine years. Kia Motors Corp. on Thursday unveiled the "All New Carnival" to the domestic market at the Seoul Walkerhill Hotel in northeastern Seoul. Since the Carnival`s debut in 1998, Kia has sold a total of 1.46 million units (570,000 units in the domestic market and 890,000 in overseas markets).
Kia claims to have invested 350 billion won (342 million U.S. dollars) to develop the new Carnival over a period of 52 months since 2010. "We have made epochal changes in all aspects including the design, the body structure and safety," said Lee Sam-woong, president and CEO of Kia.
With the launch of the fully remodeled version of the Carnival, the carmaker aims to overcome declining domestic sales. "We had a hard time until May this year because of new models from domestic competitors and imported cars," Kim Chang-sik, head of Kia`s domestic sales division. "With the new Carnival and an upcoming successor to the Sorento sport utility vehicle, we will make a turning point in overcoming our slumping domestic sales during the second half of this year."
Kia set the sales target for the new Carnival at 4,000 units a month. Cho Yong-won, Kia`s domestic marketing chief, said, "The Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna cannot compete (with the Carnival). Priced 15 million won (14,648 dollars) less than imported models and equipped with a diesel engine, the All New Carnival will maintain its overwhelmingly top-selling position in the domestic minivan market with an 80 percent market share."
The All New Carnival generates up to 202 horse power with a maximum torque of 45 kilograms per meter. Its certified fuel consumption efficiency is 11.5 kilometers per liter for the 11-seat model, a 5.5 percent improvement from the previous generation. The new Carnival will start at 29.9 million won (29,199 dollars) and go all way up to 36.4 million won (35,547 dollars) for models with nine seats, while the prices of 11 seaters will range from 27 million won (26,367 dollars) to 35.9 million won (35,058 dollars).