Kia pins hopes on overhauled K9
The automaker sees the success of the K9 as representative of the entire K series. If the K9 sells well, the company will be free to shift its resources from revitalizing the struggling K lineup to introducing an electric car lineup, a segment which the automaker has not yet had the chance to fully enter.
“Kia Motors needs to build up its brand since it is still more known for its recreational vehicle lineup,” said Kwon Hyug-ho, executive vice president at the auto company at a media event for the K9 on Tuesday.
“After successfully launching the overhauled K9, Kia Motors may make a separate brand for the electric vehicle lineup. The K series survives only when the K9 survives,” he added.
Kia Motors has only one fully electric car model under its roof, the Soul, and a couple more models with hybrid engines such as the Niro SUV and the K5 and K7 sedans.
“The premium E emblem at Kia Motors is currently exclusive to the Stinger,” Kwon said. “We may incorporate the future electric car range under the E brand,” he added.
Kia Motors is known to have considered launching the Stinger as an independent premium brand last year just like Hyundai Motor did with Genesis. Concluding that the global market still lacks understanding of the Kia brand, the automaker resorted to launching it topped with the distinctive E emblem.
The new K9 is the first fully overhauled version since it was introduced to the Korean market in 2012.
Standing at the top of the auto company’s K series - the name of its sedan lineup - the latest K9 came with a range of new design elements and top-notch safety technology.
Changes in the front and rear lamp design stand out among the upgrades, with dual LED lights featured within the lamps. Kia Motors calls the new design “Duplex lamps.”
The new K9 also came with a revamped grille design that offers a more energetic and dynamic ambience, according to the carmaker.
In terms of safety features, Kia Motors officials said the new K9 is equipped with some of the most cutting-edge technology.
One notable new feature in the K9 is the windows, which automatically close when the car goes through a tunnel. The K9 is the first vehicle produced by Hyundai Motor Group to include the feature.
The technology has been designed to operate on Korean roads and is linked with domestic map data. It is also equipped with other functions such as lane following assist, blind-spot view monitor and rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assistance systems.
The automaker plans to sell some 20,000 units of the K9 per year in Korea, rivaling not only domestic models such as the Genesis G80 and EQ900 and SsangYong Motor’s Chairman, but also imported cars such as the Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class.
Kia Motors plans to sell 6,000 units overseas this year, though the exact timeline for exports has not been determined.
The price for the lowest trim equipped with a 3.8-liter petrol engine starts at 54.9 million won ($51,600). There are two other engine options: the 3.3-liter turbo petrol and 5.0-liter petrol.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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