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Kia Stinger GT to start from $50k

Dead ringer Stinger: While not quite as faithful to the 2011 GT concept as the Range Rover Evoque or original Audi TT were to their show-stealing progenitors, the Stinger is close enough to put Kia into the concept-to-reality club.

Stinger to be offered in three grades as Kia looks to capture 400 sales a month

18 Apr 2017

KIA’S hotly anticipated rear-drive Stinger performance sedan is likely to be offered in three specification grades, with the range starter kicking things off from about $40,000, when it eventually sprints into Australian dealerships in about September this year.

Set to arrive in the third quarter, the Stinger will be offered with a choice of two powertrains, including a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit and the hot 3.3-litre turbo V6 GT variant that the car-maker’s Australian arm says will capture 75 per cent of local sales.

Whether both engines will be offered in the three separate grades remains to be seen, but Kia is working hard to ensure the base four-pot starts the range off in the low-$40,000 range, while the entry-level V6 should start from about $50,000.

Speaking with journalists in Melbourne last week, Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) chief operating officer Damien Meredith said while the Stinger will be pitched in BMW territory in Europe, the Australian pricing structure would be more in line with other large sedans such as performance variants of the Holden Commodore.

“That’s where our target pricing is going,” he said. “In regards to volume … we think in the initial stages, it’ll be between 200 and 300 (per month). That will be driven by inventory, because we don’t expect to get a lot (of stock) in the first four months. In 2018, we’d like to probably build it up to around about 400 a month. That’s where we see it.”

He added that KMAu’s parent company understood the importance of the Stinger for the Australian market, given the heritage of rear-wheel-drive performance sedans.

“I think KMC (Kia Motor Company) understands the difference of our market compared to the rest of the world and their view that it can do a dual job for us. It can be this magnificent halo car that it will be for the brand and that we can actually get some volume out of it. Isn’t it great that there is a halo car that you can get some volume out of.”

Rivals in the large car segment include the Chrysler 300 that ranges from $55,000 to $75,000 plus on-road costs and the Australian-built Holden Commodore that will be replaced by a European-sourced model next year. The Commodore SS-V Redline is the most logical competitor to the Stinger GT and it retails from $54,990.

If Kia achieves its target of about 400 Stingers per month, it would give the company about 4800 annual sales, which is roughly similar to the yearly haul of the Mazda6 mid-sizer.

Mr Meredith said that Kia dealers are already holding 30 orders for the Stinger – all of them for the 3.3-litre V6-powered GT.

Kia confirmed late last month the 276kW/510Nm Stinger GT could cover the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.9 seconds – equalling the soon to be discontinued V8-powered Commodore SS-V Redline.

A number of Stingers are in Australia undergoing testing and development work ahead of the third quarter launch, with KMAu’s local ride and handling team, led by engineer Graeme Gambold, putting the finishing touches on it.

KMAu general manager of media and corporate communications Kevin Hepworth said the suspension tune of the Australian-spec Stinger is closely related to the UK-market version and that very few changes were required to ensure it suited the conditions Down Under.

“They’re (the ride and handling team) actually quite happy with Stinger out of the box. There were no major concerns, except a tweaking and touching to suit our roads, more than anything else. The performance angle on the car, they were quite happy with.”

He added that the exhaust note was one of the few thing Kia would like enhanced, and that there were currently discussions underway about whether this could be changed.

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