News - Kia
New York show: Kia climbs social ladder
Designs on premium: Kia president Peter Schreyer says Kia is “a little bit” premium.
Cadenza takes Kia further up-market, but it is left-hand drive only for now
24 March 2016
KIA Motors could soon be rubbing shoulders with high-end competitors, with the
company’s chief saying some of the company’s latest products nudge premium
The South Korean car-maker lifted the covers from its second-generation Cadenza
mid-size offering at the New York motor show overnight, with the mid-size
luxury contender moving further upscale when compared with the model it
The Cadenza previews Kia’s future design direction for sedans and features
luxuries that elevate the new model above the car it replaces.
When asked if he believes that some of the brand’s mainstream models will push
into premium territory in the coming years, Kia Motors president Peter Schreyer
said they would “a little bit”, adding that the feel and quality of materials
can help lift a model beyond mainstream status.
“I think to be able to kind of be ahead of the competition, I think it is
important to have really good quality, perceived quality, which means a little
more premium in it,” he told GoAuto.
“Because it is not only the price point but it is also when you buy a car you
want to be rewarded, want to be proud of it, want to enjoy nice materials and
good quality I think that’s very important.”
It is unlikely, however, that Kia will move too far into the premium space,
given its parent, Hyundai Motor Company, has just launched its new Genesis
sub-brand that will be rolled out in Australia later in the year.
Asked if he sees a day 15 or 20 years in the future when Kia will have dropped
its mainstream roots and become a premium brand, Mr Schreyer said the brand
already had moved slightly beyond mainstream.
“I hope we are not totally mainstream now,” he said. “I hope we keep our
approach (which) is to try to be a bit ahead of the competition.”
While the luxury appointments in the Cadenza set a new benchmark for the brand,
at least in the United States, the big sedan is unlikely to make to Australia,
with Mr Schreyer saying he does not know of any plans for the model to be
produced in right-hand-drive.
Meanwhile, the long-mooted Kia sportscar looks no closer to a production
reality, with Mr Schreyer highlighting sporty variants in the Kia line-up when
asked about a road-ready performance hero.
“I think with the GT line that we have in Europe, we are making more cars with
good performance,” he said. “So the whole brand is moving towards more sporty.
“I think with some showcars we have had in the past, for example the GT – the
four-door coupe sports saloon – we are heading in a very sporty direction with
the rear-wheel-drive layout.
“And this company already shows where we are heading as well.”
When pressed on the chances of a sportscar, Mr Schreyer said: “Not in the near
Another rumoured Kia model that is unlikely to see the light of day any time
soon is a Kia pick-up, with Mr Schreyer pointing out that a decision would
first need to be made on the style of pick-up and how it would be different
from other offerings.
“I think it depends on the type of pick-up we would do. Something like this
could be made in a way that it fits with the brand but maybe if we would do it,
it should be something that really stands out a bit from the rest of what there
is and not just make another pick-up, this is how I would approach such a
“This is how I try to approach every project basically but at the moment it is
not in discussion.”
Rumours of a Kia utility picked up pace early last year Hyundai’s Santa Cruz
concept was revealed at the Detroit motor show, with some reports suggesting
that Kia could share the underpinnings with its sister brand.
However, as reported by GoAuto earlier this month, a decision on the version of
pick-up – a US-style pickup, an Australian and South-East Asian-focused
one-tonner or a car-like option similar to the Santa Cruz – Hyundai would
pursue was still yet to be locked in.