New model will be developed to take on the BMW 3 Series

There was a time when the mention of Kia drew chuckles and sideways glances from people in and out of the industry. How times have changed, right? These days, Kia and sister company Hyundai make up the Hyundai Motor Group, the second largest automaker in Asia behind Toyota and the fourth largest in the world. Kia’s status in the industry has grown to the point that nobody is laughing about its plans to launch its first sports sedan to take on the BMW 3 Series.

According to Reuters, the model, codenamed “CK,” is being targeted for a May 2017 launch and will compete against the 3 Series and the Audi A5. Kia reportedly plans to build 60,000 units of the model per year and will feature a host of engine options, including a 2.0-liter, 2.2-liter, and 3.0-liter. The company itself has made no announcements on this reported plan, but it’s likely that the company is just waiting for the right time before making it official.

A new sports sedan certainly fits into Kia’s strategy of moving up to bigger and sportier markets. It makes sense for the company to have a model that would seamlessly fit into a market that has no shortage of options available for discerning customers.

The CK is expected to be smaller than the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, so it could actually fall into the compact sports sedan segment. Whatever segment it ends up in, Kia is reportedly keen on developing the sports car to replicate the success it had with the Kia Soul. That would entail putting a premium on the car’s design to make it fresh and attractive. It’s unclear if the company plans to use some of its recent sports sedan concepts – the GT and the Novo – as launching points for the development of this new model, but with the mostly positive reviews both prototypes received when they were launched, it would make sense for the automaker to at least look in those directions for inspiration.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

In all fairness, it’s exciting to see Kia’s growth over the years from this bland company that built “no personality” models like the original Kia Pride to a serious force in the industry that is now reportedly planning to enter a market that’s long been dominated by the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. Really, I’ve known about Kia since the late 90s and never did it enter my mind that the company would be in the position that it’s in today.

I’m not going to spend time diving into the story of Kia, but there is some kind of satisfaction that comes with seeing a company rise to become one of the biggest automakers in the world. Like I said, nobody second-guessed the news about this new sports sedan. By and large, people seem to think that it’s a sensible move if the company is really serious about competing against the likes of the German triumvirate.

If you think about it, the sports sedan market is the perfect place for Kia to compete with the European brands. Other than the K900, the company doesn’t really have a bonafide luxury model to call its own, so diving deep into that segment would be far more difficult. That’s even more true when you consider that Hyundai’s launch of the Genesis brand to stand against Lexus and Infiniti would make it tricky for Kia to go down that same path.

So, instead of doing that, Kia will venture into the sports sedan segment. At the very least, it won’t place too much pressure on the company, allowing it to aggressively pursue the development of the model without having to worry about how it will be treated if it were placed in a higher segment. I love the plan and I hope that it comes to fruition.

Kia Novo Concept

2015 Kia Novo Fastback Concept
- image 625068

Read our full review on the Kia Novo Concept here.

Source: Reuters

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