The pieces are already in motion to add more variety to the Stinger

By now, everybody seems to be onboard the notion that Kia hit a homerun over the fence with the Stinger. The Korean automaker bet big on a premium performance sedan that could take on BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi and the early returns about the car are very encouraging. Of course, it’s still hard to make any judgments on the Stinger until we get to see what it’s actually like on the road, but given the overwhelmingly positive response surrounding its Detroit Auto Show debut, it wouldn’t be too presumptuous to think of how Kia’s going to build around the Stinger in order for the sedan to reach its full potential.

First of all, here’s what we already know about the Stinger’s status moving forward. the initial version will come with two variants: an entry-level sedan and a performance sedan called the Stinger GT. There’s no definite timetable yet on when the model will go on sale, but all signs seem to point to a launch sometime within the year with the U.S. scheduled to get the Stinger in the last quarter of 2017, maybe even sooner.

Here’s the question though: is Kia already thinking of adding on to the two variants that have already been announced?

It’s a legitimate question to ask and to Kia’s credit, it’s already indicated as much, telling Autocar that a diesel version is already in the works with a tentative schedule to make its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show this March. Details are still scarce on how a diesel Stinger is going to be packaged, but a look at the automaker’s engine lineup points to the 197-horsepower, 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel that the company already uses on some of its models, including the Kia Sorento.

Beyond the growing possibility of seeing a diesel version of the Stinger, there have also been talks of going the electrified route. Granted, an EV Stinger is unlikely to arrive in the foreseeable future, but according to Spencer Cho, Kia’s overseas product marketing boss, the company has the capability to venture down that road in the event that there’s demand for one.

The speculation surrounding Kia’s growth plans for the Stinger is likely going to continue now that the model has made such a positive first impression. It’s a great problem for Kia to solve and one that I’m sure the company is looking forward to solve.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Kia’s on the spotlight now. Let’s see how it responds.

All Eyes Are On Kia And The Stinger Now High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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All Eyes Are On Kia And The Stinger Now High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The Kia Stinger represents a huge victory for Kia in a lot of ways. You can look at it on its face and say that the Stinger officially gives the Korean automaker a legitimate premium performance sedan that’s going to make all those folks in Germany stand up and pay attention. They may not admit it, but rest assured, that’s exactly what they did when the Stinger was unveiled in Detroit. Kia, once scorned for producing low-quality compact cars, has come this far through passion, determination, and an unsinkable will. You have to give them credit for that.

But other than that, the Stinger also presents new challenges for the company. Sure, it got the attention of well-established brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. Now comes the harder part of sustaining that attention and turning it into legitimate competition. That’s why it’s important for Kia to really build the Stinger up and make it a viable threat to the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes CLA-Class, and Audi A3.

All Eyes Are On Kia And The Stinger Now High Resolution Interior AutoShow
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All Eyes Are On Kia And The Stinger Now High Resolution Interior AutoShow
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Doing so is going to require a lot of work and one key to achieving that goal is to ensure that the Stinger grows organically without having too much pressure put on it. A diesel version is a good start because it not only complements the entry-level model and the Stinger GT, but it also gains entry into another segment where the German automakers play in. From there, Kia should also look into other possible avenues by which it can expand the model’s reach. A wagon, perhaps? A coupe version? Kia and Hyundai high-performance head Albert Biermann already said that the Korean automaker is unlikely to push for a sub-brand like Hyundai’s N-style sub brand so you can take that out of the equation already.

All Eyes Are On Kia And The Stinger Now High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Whatever and however Kia decides to pursue the building up of the Stinger, what’s clear is that a lot of people will be watching the Korean automaker. Be it fans or scribes like us or the competition themselves, we all know that the Stinger has the potential to be a game-changer in its segment. Now it’s on Kia to make sure that the model stays on that track.

Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Stinger here.

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