Hyundai’s acquisition of Kia Motors in August of 2009 was probably the best thing that ever happened to the Korean make. I can’t ever remember a time when I paid any attention to a Kia Sephia or a Sportage, other than to laugh at the poor excuse of an automobile that came from the manufacturer. Things are changed though as Hyundai’s successful efforts trickled down to the other troubled Korean maker. For example, look at the newest Optima. So don’t worry, Kia is in good hands, especially since they’ve just announced that they’ll be upping their game.
Kia revealed that they will be introducing a rear-wheel-drive sports coupe concept at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show in September. It will feature a V8 engine most likely a carry-over version of Hyundai’s “Tau” V8 and will be rear-wheel drive.
“Kia seriously needs a halo model to improve the brand’s image,” Kia’s boss Hank Lee said in the press conference. “The coupe was made as part of a first series of show cars that will test the waters of our market.”
The concept, much like the debut of Hyundai’s Genesis line, will be based off of Kia’s new flagship luxury sedan that’s due for launch in 2012. Another concept is also destined for unveiling at next year’s Detroit Motor Show in January. And lastly, a Mazda MX-5 sports car is too on the docket for consideration, as rumored by a highly positioned source within Kia. All of that said, whichever model receives the most demand or hype will make it into production and will be released sometime in 2015.
In terms of the MX-5 rival, Kia said that the model can be front- or rear-wheel drive and could be based on the next-generation’s Cee’d hatch that will be released next year.
“Kia’s future sports car doesn’t need to be fast as it does compact, affordable and fun,” said Peter Schreyer, Kia’s design boss.
As for more plans, the boffins at Kia are also considering hot hatch versions of their Kia Rio and next-generation Cee’d to help boost the brand’s intended sporty image. That said, Kia may introduce their own sporty sub-brand in order to compete against the likes of Renaultsport and Ford’s Team RS.
– By: Chris Chin