Idex 2015: Kia personnel carrier is too cool for school

The Middle East market for military vehicles is increasingly in the sights of Kia, according to its assistant manager Chae Yongki.

Kia's $200,000 armoured personnel carrier, set to go into production next year, on display at Idex. Silvia Razgova / The National
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You probably won’t take this eight-seater from Kia on the school run.

The Korean car maker known for affordability and reliability revealed the latest addition to its range – a US$200,000 armoured personnel carrier that is set to go into production next year. Tucked among the stands occupied by the world’s biggest arms makers, Kia was an unlikely exhibitor at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference, which wraps up in the capital today.

But the Middle East market for military vehicles is increasingly in the sights of the $45 billion turnover company, according to its assistant manager Chae Yongki.

“We mainly supply the Korean military but we are now looking at opportunities to support other countries,” he said. Kia sold more than 2.9 million vehicles last year, an increase of almost 6 per cent on a year earlier.

The company, which is South Korea’s sole military vehicle supplier, already sells to 20 countries, primarily in Asia. It wants to extend that footprint into new markets including the Middle East.

But it faces stiff competition in a crowded marketplace.

Armoured personnel carriers used by armies from around the world were on wide display at the defence industry gathering.

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