Kia Rio set to be discontinued in South Africa

Published Feb 10, 2023


Johannesburg - The Kia Rio has been an instrumental part of the Korean brand’s success in South Africa and globally, and through four generations it has evolved into a mature hatchback contender.

However, generation five will not reach our shores as a spokesperson for Kia Australia has told Drive that the next-generation Rio will not be produced in right-hand drive format.

A contact at Kia South Africa confirmed that, stating that the model was on its way out, but would still be available for the rest of this year.

“This model has come to the end of its ‘life-cycle’, and will eventually be phased out of our model lineup in South Africa. However, we can confidently say that we will have sufficient stock and will continue to retail the Kia Rio for the remainder of 2023.”

The Australian publication said it believed that the Rio would live on as a budget model in certain developing markets. According to numerous reports, the Rio is also being discontinued in the UK and Europe.

The current Kia Rio remains on sale locally, priced from R299 995 to R383 995. The Polo-rivalling hatchback is still a steady seller, with Kia having sold an average of 205 Rios per month in the past three months.

It has however been outshone by its Kia Sonet sibling, which found an average of 307 new homes per month.

The cheaper Picanto accounts for the majority of Kia’s local hatchback sales, with a monthly average of 540 units, and the A-segment hatch looks set to survive another generation in right-hand drive format.

However regular B-segment hatchbacks in the Kia Rio’s segment are falling out of favour with buyers that are increasingly gravitating towards SUV products, and stricter pollution laws are making it prohibitively expensive to develop them for markets such as Europe.

Ford has already announced that its Fiesta hatchback is being discontinued internationally this year, and the future of Volkswagen’s Polo seems to be in the balance, so much so that VWSA is looking at building a third model at its local plant in Kariega (read more on that here).

The Rio’s Hyundai i20 cousin appears set to survive another generation in Europe and other markets, according to Drive, however it appears that the N performance version could be killed off by emissions legislation.