K9 hoping to bite into foreign luxury car sales

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K9 hoping to bite into foreign luxury car sales


Dignitaries including KB Financial Group Chairman Euh Yoon-dae, first from left, and Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo, second from left, stand beside Kia Motors’ K9 luxury sedan during its launch at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in central Seoul yesterday. Provided by the company

Kia Motors introduced its K9 flagship luxury sedan in Seoul yesterday in the hopes of eating into the sales of foreign luxury brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

The first rear-wheel drive sedan from Korea’s second biggest automaker replaces the Opirus but is based more on the Genesis. It took four years and five months to develop the sedan at a cost of 520 billion won ($461 million).

Kia hopes to sell 18,000 units of the sedan in Korea this year. It will launch the model in Asia in the latter half of the year and then in China and North America. It intends to sell 25,000 units globally in 2013.

Over 1,200 people, including Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo, Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo and Kim Young-hwan, chairman of the Knowledge Economy Committee at the National Assembly, took part in the official launch event.

“The K9 has been developed using the most advanced technologies and I am certain that it will boost Kia’s reputation around the world,” Chung said during the launch ceremony.

Three trims are available for models equipped with the V6 3.3-liter engine, which can generate up to 300 horsepower, while the 3.8-liter engine offers 334 horsepower and a choice of five trims.

The cheapest, prestige model costs 52.9 million won ($47,000) while the high-end, president model with the larger engine retails for 86.4 million won.

The K9 is 509 centimeters (200.4 inches) long, 190 centimeters wide and 149 centimeters high. It is equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission; for the first time in a Korean car, the regular stick has been replaced by a computer console-like joystick.

The K9 is equipped with advanced functions such as a head-up display, - also a first in a domestic car - full LED headlamps and 19-inch self-sealing tires.

By Limb Jae-un [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]

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