Kia’s new K9 takes a swing at the Germans
Korea’s second-largest automaker launched the second generation of its K9 luxury sedan on Tuesday, challenging high-class imported models such as BMW’s 5-series and Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class.
For the K9’s first full revamp since it was launched six years ago, it gets a new design and the Stinger’s 370-horsepower turbo V6 engine.
Kia hopes to sell 15,000 K9s this year and eventually ramp up sales to 20,000 cars starting next year. The company hopes that the model, dubbed the K900 in the United States, will be more successful overseas than its predecessor. Kia exported 570 units of K9 last year but with the new model Kia hopes to ramp up the amount to 6,000 units per year.
“The K9 is going to lead innovation within the K series,” said Kia President Park Han-woo at the K9’s launch event on Tuesday in southern Seoul.
The non-turbo V6 model’s price starts at 54.9 million won ($51,670). The V8 model starts at 93.3 million won.
Kia’s most expensive model is laden with multiple high-tech safety features.
In addition to basic driving assistance functions, such as lane-keeping assist and a forward-collision warning system, the K9 is also equipped with what Kia is calling a navigation-based smart cruise control, which controls the car’s speed before entering winding roads. It also features a lane departure warning system, which keeps the car from wandering from its lane on highways and city roads.
“K9 is the essence of the auto company’s latest technology and capacity,” a Kia official said. “It has been developed to suit consumers’ every last need.”
The K9 is now on sale, and Kia has received a total of 2,000 preorders over the past 10 days.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]