Yesterday was Father’s Day for those of us in North America and it had me thinking about something I think we can all relate to. As car-crazed kids, we probably all tried to have a say in what our parents bought. So, what did you tell your parents to buy? And did they listen, or what did they buy instead? I distinctly recall one strong suggestion I made circa sixth grade and it may surprise you.
There was a time when a $35k Kia crossover or a V8-powered Genesis was a laughable suggestion. The Koreans were manufacturing only bargain-basement cars, like the 1995 Hyundai Excel (Accent) which briefly became Australia’s best-selling car on the back of its low, low, driveaway price. But Hyundai and Kia were struggling with their larger cars despite offering them well-equipped and keenly-priced. As a child, I was no brand snob and I was perhaps even more of a
cheapskate value-oriented consumer than I am now. I was seduced by a low price and a long feature list and when I saw an ad for runout examples of the Kia Credos, I told my mother she had to buy one.
“What is a Kia Credos?” you may ask. Basically, it was a rebodied 1992 Mazda 626 and was Kia’s third offering in Australia after the Mentor (Sephia) and Sportage. Australian market models launched in 1998 and came with a 2.0 DOHC four-cylinder engine with 131 hp and 126 ft-lbs and a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. Just one model was offered: a well-equipped sedan with standard air-conditioning and power windows, mirrors and locks. Leather and woodgrain trim, power driver’s seat, alloy wheels and ABS were available in an option pack, and these runout Credos sedans were all equipped with leather and priced at a low, low $AUD 19,990, about the price of a base model Corolla and even undercutting base models of the Hyundai Sonata and Daewoo Leganza. Not bad for a mid-size sedan, especially one so generously appointed!
In other markets, the Credos was known as the Clarus and even featured a wagon variant that looked like the lovechild of a Renault Laguna Estate and a 1996 Ford Taurus wagon. But the Credos/Clarus was a bit player outside of Asia, selling poorly in Europe and not even being offered in North America. In Australia, only a paltry 839 examples were sold over the Credos’ three-year run.
In the end, my mother didn’t buy a Credos. The next car purchase in my family was my father’s purchase of another well-appointed Korean, a Daewoo Nubira that very quickly taught me there is more to a car than its equipment list as the Nubira was well-specified but rubbish. Given its Mazda bones, the Credos might have been a better buy for our family but we shall never know.
So, what did you try to convince your parents to buy and did they follow your advice or go in an entirely different direction?