- Parkers talks to Kia boss about customisation
- Find out how it can work for company car drivers
- Would you wait for the car you want? Email in now
As a user-chooser company car driver you’re faced with an almost baffling array of choice on how to specify your next business vehicle.
‘Customisation’ is certainly a buzzword in the industry right now, and for smaller cars in particular the styling options are extensive.
The 2017 Kia Stonic – the Korean firm’s smallest SUV – offers the choice of black, red, lime green and orange roof colours, all with contrasting body hues. It’s this, alongside low running costs, that Kia hopes will attract more company car drivers.
But traditionally specifying quirkier paintjobs have been the remit of the extra-cost option - your car becoming a special order to the factory that usually take much longer to build.
Paul Philpott, Kia Motor UK’s president and CEO, told Parkers how the company is hoping to get around this issue and deliver cars when its customers need them, to their chosen specification.
‘What people are wanting is a car that looks great on the road but that has some uniqueness of character.
‘Personalisation on Stonic largely means different colour combinations at present and it’s unclear at this time whether we’ll do more moving forward.'
Being able to supply the vehicles on time is another key consideration, though.
‘[The Stonic is] a car that’s built in Korea,’ says Philpott.
'It’s six weeks on the high seas before it gets here so you start thinking about customisation and actually then not having the right specification of car at a time that fits the consumer’s needs.
‘Company car drivers have a specific point of time when they have to change their car. If that car is not on the ground here but is still on a boat three weeks out, that’s no way to treat a company car driver.
‘So I think it’s about having lots of choice and giving people different colour combinations, but I don’t necessarily think that mass customisation is what company car drivers want. They’ve got choices.’
Further to this, Philpott explains how Kia is installing company car specialists at its dealers.
'We’ve got 25 I think it is now, business specialist dealers with dedicated resource, but then we expect all our dealers to have a specialist – maybe not dedicated – but it’s his responsibility to look after fleets in his local area.'
Kia’s approach is to offer a basic level of personalisation that can be provided without a long wait.
But is that as important to you as a fleet driver, or would more personalisation – to the extent of the Vauxhall Adam, perhaps – better serve your needs, despite potentially having to wait a little longer for your car? Write in to email@example.com and let us know.