Is Kia Thinking About Introducing A Luxury Brand?

What makes a luxury car?

It’s a moot point, with brands like Mercedes-Benz dipping their toes in the mid-market with the CLA sedan.

Does this model somehow negate the glorious motoring history of the brand? Or is it just a sign of the times?

The reason for asking this question is that both Kia and Hyundai are making moves in the other direction: from the mass market to the luxury market.

Does the K900 mean Kia will shortly be introducing a separate brand for its luxury cars?

Kia K900 WallpaperHyundai has already done exactly this with its Genesis brand becoming the umbrella name for all its future luxury models.

Yet the signs are that Kia will resist the temptation.

For instance here is Kia’s U.S. COO, Michael Spague, who claims that as luxury manufacturers are invading the turf of mass-market motors, there just is no need for a separate brand.

“The dynamic, the environment’s changed. I don’t know if you have to go out and establish something new. Mercedes have got their $229,000 vehicle and they’ve got their $29,000 vehicle. They didn’t go to market with a separate brand once they crossed that threshold of, say, sub-$40,000.”

“I would say we’re still in launch mode for the K900 and Cadenza,” he adds.

Similarly Kia’s design guru, Peter Schreyer, is on record echoing these sentiments. He has claimed that Kia does not need a standalone luxury brand, and that such a brand could do more harm than good.

“In one way to create a luxury brand could be a charming idea. On the other hand, I think if those cars that are in the luxury segment would still be called [the same] then it makes the brand stronger.”

“If you separate it too much you have to spend billions in advertising and making that brand known,” he added citing Lexus as a case in point.

“It took them 30 years to really get where they are. To make this their ‘own’ brand. At the same time image-wise it did not pull Toyota [up] at all, because it’s Lexus. This is why I think in our case it is the better way to not do it.”

It remains to be seen which way Kia will head.

With the launch of the V-6 K900 this year it looks certain that sales will pick up.

The V-8 established the model as a credible luxury vehicle but, certainly in the US, data that shows 70% of sales in the mid-large sedan segment are V6-equipped cars.

It could be full-steam ahead but will it be separate brand ahoy?

Time will tell.

8 thoughts on “Is Kia Thinking About Introducing A Luxury Brand?

  1. I will be more specific. They revealed us a RWD GT concept. The consumers wanted it to go into production because it was a RWD sports sedan people been waiting for for over a decade.The GT had the looks, the performance. Instead Kia gives us quite the opposite a RWD non head turning K900 luxury sedan based on a top of the line Equus. Yet every year Kia tells us to expect a.RWD 4 door sports sedan. I guess I’ll be 60yrs by the time it debuts. So why on earth does Kia think they should make a luxurious line up when they dont listen to what consumers are asking for? They cant even making c E segment sedan to get noticed like the Maxima, Avalon or Impala to be in the top 20 best sellers. Yet they want to make more expensive cars in BMW territory? When are we going to get some optional AWD optiams and Cadenzas and Souls?

  2. Spend your money making all your vehicles available with all-wheel-drive.

    Every weather event in this country is hyped by the media on television, news paper and social media and more and more people believe all-wheel-drive cars are the way to go, that’s where the potential big volume sales are.
    Optima Forte Cadenza Rio all should be available with all-wheel-drive platforms but that’s just my opinion.

  3. So much more money to do with high end cars!
    But Kia and Hyundai cant realy compete, they are way to far away of MB AUdi BMW and “high end Japps such as Lexus, Acura, Infinity, ” are too well implanted in it.
    They (Kia and Hyundai) need much better products then what they have now!

  4. Kia is slowly becoming its own ‘luxury brand’ with how awesome the new cars are. For instance, the new Optima and Cadenza rival any Audi or BMW in my opinion!

  5. Kia doesn’t have the resources for a large luxury lineup as Hyundai will have with the Genesis lineup, so it’s not really worth it for them.

    Probably will end up with a 3 model luxury lineup – the GT/K800?, the K900 and a luxury crossover (probably should do a 4 model lineup with 2 crossovers).

    Kia, tho, should think about re-doing its badge/logo, so it is more upscale looking.

  6. There is a new rumour about a Kia CK RWD car supposed to be out by 2017. I’ll believe it when I see spy shots. Kia has been talking about a RWD sports sedan for over a decade now. I gave up on the GT.

  7. KIA make too many models with too many variations. They will never be able to make a sort after luxury model until they can perfect one of their current cars. IMO They fall down with poor suspension & illogical instrumentation

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