But can they ever actually directly link lending a car to a motoring hack with a signed order form? Well, Kia can now…
Our Sportage – on long term loan from the manufacturer since July – has been on a little holiday this week.
Our local Kia dealership, Fine Cars, of Gosport, asked to borrow the techno orange First Edition model for a few days as they haven’t been able to get their hands on a demonstrator.
Apparently, there were problems with supply of dealer demos meaning sites up and down the country had customers desperate to drive the Sportage before placing an order – but no cars to put them in.
It hasn’t helpd that the new Sportage features heavily in the marque’s national advertising campaigns.
Fine Cars’ dealer principal Dave Brown got in touch with Car Dealer after spotting our test model.
At first the salesman would come and take long looks at it, before one asked if they could borrow it to show a potential punter. Twice before this week, the Sportage has been off on test drives with customers from Fine Cars.
But this week, salesman Ben Harris got in touch asking if they could borrow it again, this time for an extended period. He said Fine Cars had several very serious customers all of which had been scheduled in slots in the Sportage.
‘We sold them all,’ Ben said, when he dropped the car off earlier today. ‘Our entire allocation of four cars has been sold, all this week. It wouldn’t have happened without the test drives – we can’t thank you enough.’
So did Ben sell one? ‘Unfortunately not. I had one customer who said yes and was ready to sign but I called our sister site and they’d just sold it.’
That might be bad news for Ben, but it certainly bodes well for the Sportage in the future. The dealers are only selling the First Edition launch model at the moment but can take orders for the 1.6-litre petrol and 1.7-litre diesel from September 10.
Ben has only been selling Kias for six months and told me he’s loving the job – he’s particularly excited about the new models expected next year, like the Magentis.
We got chatting about the brand in general and Ben said: ‘What Kia really needs now is a sporty model, something like the proc’eed would work well, a car with some real go.’
I can’t help but be inclined to agree. The Sportage is such a cracking car – in fact it’s the first Kia I can say I’d buy (and most other people who’ve driven it have said the same), but the brand is still lacking a stand out sports model. Let’s hope the marque’s listening and adds some potent powerplants to its range soon…
By James Baggott