The latest large-executive sedan from Kia has begun selling in Korea. This vehicle is likely to be marketed to North America but not in the European region, the company said. Kia K9 will be launched in its core offshore markets except Europe by the fourth quarter. The K9, which has a rear-wheel drive, will compete against the established sedans of Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW.
The vehicle has a similar platform as the Hyundai Genesis and Equus large sedans, which are both sold in the United States at present. A spokesperson for Kia told Automotive News Europe that they are "growing dramatically" in the North American region, with Hyundai doing "well" with Genesis and Equus. This means that the K9 should sell in the area also, he added.
On the other hand, the spokesperson revealed that they think that at this time, they will not have the "cut-through" in the European region where they will be competing with the Mercedes S class, the Audi A8 and the BMW 7 series. He noted that even VW had a hard time in marketing the Phaeton in the region. The K9 continues the naming system of Kia for vehicles sold in Korea. It is now the new flagship ahead of the K7 sedan. The vehicle is run by the 3.8-liter V6 Lambda engine of Hyundai and Kia.
This powerplant produces 290 hp. A more powerful direct-injection variant has been revealed for 2013. The sedan will come with a high specification, including premium features such as all-LED headlamps, a lane departure warning system, an eight-speed automatic transmission and a 17-speaker stereo system by Harmon.
The design utilizes a version of Kia's trademark 'tiger nose' grille treatment. Commenting on the vehicle, Kia chief designer Peter Schreyer said that it has "a sporty, athletic proportion and a confident stance." He further stated that the K9 is an unambiguous sign of their determination and intention to compete "head-to-head" with the luxury brands in Europe.