Kia is famous for value-priced cars and quirky crossovers. But a South Korean code has some-more lush aspirations. Walk into a Kia salon and knowledge a K900 full-size oppulance sedan hawked by LeBron James and marketed as “fit for a king;” or check out the surprising Stinger opening sedan aiming to replace German competition sedan benchmarks; entrance shortly is a eight-seat Telluride crossover.
This enlargement into a area of reward brands such as Acura, Lincoln and Genesis is a risk value taking, in Kia’s mind.
“We see this as an event as many as a challenge,” pronounced Michael Cole, arch handling officer during Kia Motors America. “We have demonstrated, quite with Stinger, that Kia can successfully contest in these higher-end segments by attracting business from determined reward brands.”
Kia’s ceiling pull began with a last-generation Optima, famous for a well-spoken pattern and crafted underneath former Audi engineer Peter Schreyer. It looked really European. The incomparable front-drive Cadenza faced off with a Toyota Avalon and Buick LaCrosse while scheming a marketplace for even loftier Kias.
But a marketplace competence not determine with Kia’s aspirations.
“It is not going to work,” pronounced Laura Ries, boss of tellurian branding organisation Ries Ries. “Kia won’t be means to sell really many oppulance cars. But even some-more important, a oppulance cars on a salon building will harm a sales of Kia’s inexpensive vehicles.”
Kia has not sole really many oppulance cars. According to Automotive News, Kia sole usually 12,999 Stingers and 260 K900 sedans by a third entertain of this year. By comparison, Mercedes sole 32,103 E-Class and 10,334 S-Class models while BMW altered 31,181 5-Series and 6,126 7-Series. Fiat Chrysler sole 59,308 Chargers, a tighten aspirant to a Stinger.
There contingency be a improved plan. Sister association Hyundai provides a ideal box study.
“Kia should demeanour during a story of Hyundai in a American market,” Ries said. “In 1998, Hyundai sole 90,217 vehicles in America. In 2011, Hyundai sole 645,691 vehicles, an boost of 616 percent. If we review Hyundai annual sales with a altogether industry’s annual sales, we will find that Hyundai outperformed a altogether attention in 1999 by 73.3 percent and in each year given afterwards until 2012.”
That’s when Hyundai began introducing a costly Genesis and Equus models. Except for 2016, Hyundai fell behind a altogether attention each year, and even in 2016, Hyundai posted sales usually 0.5 percent improved than a industry. Hyundai recently separate a oppulance models into Genesis to improved compute a mainstream models from oppulance vehicles.
“It’s a many improved strategy,” Ries said. “The many successful brands are a ones that concentration on a unaccompanied idea. The ultimate pushing machine, for example, done BMW a largest offering luxury-vehicle code in America. Then they altered their selling proceed to ‘joy’ and mislaid their care to Mercedes. Subaru focused on ‘four-wheel drive’ in 1993, a year they were a 23rd largest-selling code with 104,179 vehicles in America. Last year, Subaru was a eighth largest-selling code with 647,956 vehicles.”
Volkswagen offers another good comparison. The German automaker spared small responsibility in building a Phaeton sedan — built a potion showcase factory, common design with Bentley, commissioned 12-cylinder engines, and offering it from about $70,000. VW sole a meagre 2,553 in 2004-05 before pulling it from a U.S. A world-class car unsuccessful not since of a machine, though since of a brand.
“Marketing is illogical,” Ries said. “Logic suggests that expanding a line will boost sales. Not so. Expanding a line will means sales to decrease since a brand’s position in a mind will be weakened. But it won’t occur overnight. It takes time to criticise a brand.”
If Kia fails to sell upscale drivers, don’t censure a vehicles. The K900 and Stinger are formed on proven Genesis architecture. They can contest though a status upcharge compared with oppulance brands.
A Porsche Panamera for a operative class, a Stinger was designed in Kia’s Frankfurt, Germany, studio underneath Schreyer and former Audi engineer Gregory Guillaume. Base models stifle down with 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engines while a GT rumbles with a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 kicking out 365 horsepower — all routed to torque-vectoring AWD for 0-60 mph in only 4.7 seconds. Electronically tractable cessation damping, head-up arrangement and pile-up slackening systems are available. Prices start during $32,900, rising to over $50,000, that is some-more than $10,000 cheaper than a bottom BMW 540i with AWD.
An all-new second generation K900 debuts this tumble with a Stinger GT’s powertrain though trades autobahn character for American opulence. Designed during Kia’s Irvine, Calif., studio, a K900 exudes lavishness with a stylized grille, floating hood, 19-inch wheels and unconditional roofline that flows into robust back fenders. Interiors are embellished with a choice of 4 open pore timber veneers and are stocked with quilted Nappa leather, heated/ventilated back seats and mood lighting designed with Pantone. Expect to compensate during slightest $50,000 (and many more).
If one reward Kia is going to benefit traction, it’s substantially a brand’s new midsize crossover.
“This new eight-passenger CUV maintains really tighten ties to a strange judgment car from 2016,” Cole said. “Including a Stinger and K900, a Telluride will be a ideal enlargement of Kia’s reward line of vehicles.”
Tellluride will come customary with modernized motorist assistance systems such as brazen pile-up mitigation, line keeping, blind mark and back cranky trade warning systems. It will also offer an automobile bucket leveling back suspension, head-up display, 10.25-inch infotainment screen, Nappa leather seats, and heated/ventilated second quarrel seats. It’s a poignant steppingstone from a Sorento crossover.
And Kia might not stop there.