Kia wants to let customers know that it can build sportier cars by showing a V8-powered rear-wheel-drive coupe concept model at the Frankfurt motor show in September.
The company’s boss, Hank Lee, admitted to What Car? in Seoul that Kia needs a “halo” vehicle model to enhance the brand’s image. The coupe was the first in a series of concept vehicles to test the water.
The concept model will be based on the company’s new US market luxury saloon, which is set to launch in 2012. Another concept vehicle using the same foundations will be displayed in Detroit’s January motor show.
The production version of the winning idea is likely to appear in 2015. Moreover, Kia also needs a model to rival the MX-5, a highly placed company source disclosed to What Car?. Kia’s design boss, Peter Schreyer, had mentioned in the past that a Kia sports car does not have to be fast, but should be affordable, fast and fun.
The insider also disclosed that the MX-5 rival does not have to be a rear drive unlike the Frankfurt concept model. However, the MX-5 rival could be a front-driver and may be based on the next-generation Cee'd hatch, which is set to be launched next year.
The Kia bosses are also thought to agree on enhancing the company’s sporty image with hot hatches based on the next C'eed and the Kia Rio supermini.
In the future, an entire sub-brand is possible such as Renaultsport or Ford’s Team RS. Kia is also studying a greater involvement in motorsport to help establish a sporty image for the brand.