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I Think the Kia Stinger GT Will Spawn More Sporty Kia Models

Last week, I told you all about the Kia Stinger GT, which is a radical, new sport-luxury sedan from Kia, the automaker who brought us the 94-horsepower Sephia subcompact just a decade ago. The Stinger GT is cool, and fun, and exciting — but more importantly, I think it’s the start of something else.

Here’s my thinking: The cost of developing a vehicle like the Stinger isn’t cheap. Creating a rear-wheel-drive platform, developing sporty suspension and designing an engine and transmission that work together to bring excitement to the market is all very difficult, and very time-consuming, and very expensive. Lincoln still hasn’t gone rear-wheel drive, despite clear market interest with rival brands like Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and BMW. This isn’t something you just … do.

And it especially isn’t something you just do for one vehicle (or for two vehicles, if you want to count the Kia K900, which is currently selling at approximately the same level as the Rolls-Royce Phantom). Instead, I suspect the Stinger GT is the first in a line of Kia models that will begin a new trend of sporty, luxurious and high quality.

There are a couple of reasons I say this, beyond the likely development cost of the Stinger. One is obvious: Kia has sat by and watched as luxury brands have earned high profits selling upscale models, rather than lower profits selling economy cars and "value-packed" models like most Kia vehicles. Simply put, Kia wants a piece of the luxury-vehicle market and the high profits associated with it — and Kia seems to feel its brand image has now reached a place where they can begin making that leap. It may take a while, and it may be expensive — but if Lexus is any indication, there’s a lot of profit and success down that road if Kia goes in the right direction.

And then there’s the other sign: A few years ago, Kia took the unusual step of hiring Peter Schreyer, formerly Audi’s design chief and the man responsible for the gorgeous 2000 TT, as their chief design officer. Schreyer immediately implemented the well-received "Tiger Nose" grille, and he’s obviously had a hand in the Stinger GT in a big way. My assumption is you don’t poach a well-known employee from a high-end luxury brand unless you plan on venturing into the high-end luxury-brand territory yourselves.

So what’s next for Kia? A coupe? A high-end luxury brand, like sister company Hyundai’s new "Genesis?" A sporty SUV? I honestly have no idea — but I strongly suspect the answer isn’t "nothing." Moreover, I strongly suspect we’ll think about Kia in an entirely new way in just a decade. Find a Kia Stinger for sale

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Gasp. Kia has actually built decent people mover cars for a while now. The first gen optima was the first hint that they weren’t just cheap economic cars. The last couple years I’ve been impressed, really.

  2. So I sat in a new Kia Stinger at the auto show this weekend. I mean, it’s nice, but all these reviewers saying it’s as nice as a BMW, Mercedes or Audi to me are wrong. It’s a good quality car, but it still isn’t a luxury car. The Infotainment is not as good as any of those automakers and is closest to probably VW than Audi in the scope of things.

    Also the rear seat is pretty unusable for anyone close to 6 ft since the roofline is so low, although so is the 4-Series Grand Coupe and A5/S5 Sedans. 
  3.  but if Lexus is any indication, there’s a lot of profit and success down that road if Kia goes in the right direction.”


    A high-end luxury brand, like sister company Hyundai’s new “Genesis?””

    I think they have to create a new brand if they are going to do this.  I think it’ll be futile to try and create a luxury side of Kia.  

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a multitude of magazine publications and websites, including here at Autotrader — where he launched the Oversteer enthusiast blog — along with Jalopnik, GQ, and The Week. His YouTube channel has hundreds of published videos and has racked up hundreds of millions of views. Today, Doug lives in San Diego, California, with his 1997 Land Rover Defender 90 NAS, 2005 Ford GT, and 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon.

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