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Kia aiming to boost image with tech, spec and pricing rises

By Kyle Linsay
Monday, October 28, 2013 - 12:00

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Kiapro_cee'dGT

IMAGE: Procee’d_GT sign of things to come?

Kia are switching focus from quantity to quality in an attempt to boost their image, raise profitability and address their lack of vacant production capacity.

Higher-specified versions of existing cars at previously unthinkable prices are set to be joined by new models and technologies never before seen on a Kia.

The strategy is currently being rolled out in America, but a similar drive in Europe is expected to follow shortly.

In the USA, dealers are preparing to launch a flagship luxury saloon, the Quoris, which is likely to cost more than $50,000 (£34,000).

Similarly, lavishly-equipped versions of two existing cars, the Optima and Cadenza, have gone on sale at significantly higher prices than anything previously offered.

The most expensive Optima now costs $35,000 (£24,000), when in the past it was only $22,000 (£15,000), while the plushest Cadenza is now $43,000 (£29,000).

Soon-Nan Lee, Vice President for Overseas Marketing at Kia, said: “We are starting to attract premium-brand customers.

“In America the Cadenza is now a rival for BMW and Mercedes, not the Toyota Avalon.”

Mr Lee added that the much-promised Kia sports car – hinted at by a series of motor show concepts – could finally become reality in 2016.

“We have a plan to produce a car based on the GT [a 2011 Frankfurt Show concept],” he said.

“We are mainly targeting the US, but three weeks ago at a general marketing conference the head of Kia in the UK, Paul Philpott, came up to me and asked for a GT.

“You will see something in 2016.”

New powertrains coming from Kia will include a 1.0litre three-cylinder direct-injection turbo unit similar to the smallest Ford Ecoboost engine.

It is destined to go into the Cee’d in 2015.

Advanced technologies in the pipeline include greater use of telematics, shift-by-wire automatic transmissions, active safety, a multi-feature head-up display unit and an around-view monitor.

Additional reporting courtesy of headlineauto, with thanks.

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