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Kia Bids 2011 Detroit Auto Show Farewell with 2012 Rio Sketches

Kia has put the 2011 Detroit Auto Show firmly in its rearview mirror with the release of sketches of the 2012 Kia Rio that will be shown at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show in March. So, apparently the Kia KV7 concept literally is yesterday’s news.

The new 2012 Kia Rio enters a white-hot B segment of cars including vehicles like the already released Ford Fiesta and Mazda2 as well as the Hyundai Veloster and Chevrolet Sonic (both introduced at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show) that are going to be catching the auto buying public’s attention as gas prices continue to inch up with AAA reporting the national average at $3.09 yesterday.

The current Kia Rio was the company’s third best-selling vehicle in overseas markets during 2010 with sales of more than 205,000 units. The company sold 24,619 Kia Rios in the U.S. in 2010, down significantly from 2009’s 34,666 but the Rio was largely overlooked in marketing in favor of other newer Kias released in 2010.

The new Kia will be longer, lower and wider than the existing Rio, according to information posted by the company. The Korean manufacturer says it marks the “next big step” in the company’s ongoing design evolution, which has included recent winners like the Kia Forte Koup and the Kia Optima sedan.

“Downsizing is becoming more and more of a trend these days and a B-segment car as attractive as all-new Rio, with its driver-oriented cabin and interior trim options, will no doubt help consumers to be more comfortable making that switch. New Rio is the ‘next big step’ in Kia’s design revolution and we anticipate this model becoming even more popular than the current vehicle,” said Soon-Nam Lee, Director of Overseas Marketing, Kia Motors Corporation.

The new Kia Rio will make its global debut at the Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday, March 1, 2011.