Kia preparing the U.S. market for its first luxury sedan

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 22, 2012

Kia hasn’t confirmed if its first rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan would be sold in the U.S. Kia has been bringing the big sporty GT concept to different stops throughout the show circuit. The GT is scheduled to appear in four U.S. shows and one in Canada. With this model, Kia will enter the segment that’s occupied by the Audi 6, BMW 5 series, Mercedes-Benz E class as well as the Hyundai Equus.

Days ago, Kia Motors Corp. revealed that the sedan will be introduced in Korea by this summer. Its production car, code-named KH, will be sold worldwide. A lot of the GT's design will show up on the KH, which is built on the same platform as Hyundai's Equus sedan.

Currently, the most expensive sedan in the U.S. from Kia is the Optima Limited, which is priced by about $35,000. If the KH is sold in the U.S., it’s presumed to be similarly priced to the Equus, which ranges from about $59,000 to $66,000. According to Tom Loveless, Kia's North American sales chief, if the rwd sedan is offered the U.S., it would be positioned above the Credenza (a new Kia sedan that starts selling next year).

The front-wheel-drive Credenza is bigger and offers more luxury than the Optima and is targeted at buyers who drive the Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, or the Toyota Avalon. Pricing wasn’t divulged but it’s likely that the Credenza will probably sell in the mid-$30s to low $40s.

Michael Sprague, Kia's North American marketing boss, said that it’s unclear if the KH would be offered in the U.S. However, Sprague said that this would be a limited edition halo vehicle. Kia has released sketches of the KH that indicate a similarity to the GT concept, which made its debut last September at the Frankfurt auto show and has been displayed in Los Angeles and Chicago. The concept is presently heading to Toronto, Atlanta and New York.

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