Kia wants to give its brand image a boost with new performance models

Article by Christian A., on November 22, 2012

Kia wants to give its brand image a boost within the next few years and to accomplish that, it will launch a large, flagship rear-drive coupé as well as several sports and performance cars. Kia has confirmed that production will start in mid-2013 for the high-performance second-generation Kia Procee’d. This model debuted at the recently held Paris Motor Show.

Another model that Kia is considering for production is a model based on the rear-drive GT coupé concept that chief designer Peter Schreyer presented at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. According to Vice-chairman and CEO Hyoung-Keun (Hank) Lee, the company is “serious looking” at eventually producing the GT. Lee reiterated his belief that a sports car has to be rear-wheel drive.

He explained that when he was at Hyundai, a Coupe was built with front-wheel drive but while it had a sporty look, it had a different driveability. Lee said that a decision will be made about this project shortly. They examined a few concept cars to see which would aid its brand image and they concluded that the GT had potential. However, they may build a couple more and test how consumers and the media respond before deciding.

Schreyer wants Kia’s range to have a small, nimble sports car that has the same spirit and looks as the Mazda MX-5. But before all that, Kia is prioritizing the launch of the Procee’d, which is internally referred to as HPV. It’s likely to be given the GT badge though.

Powering this model is a 200bhp version of Hyundai-Kia’s T-GDi turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine. It will be available with a choice of six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmissions. Lee said that Schreyer has designed the hot hatch with a different look so that it stands out from the other models in the three-door Procee’d lineup.

Dynamic, futuristic, and powerful, the concept car for the Kia GT shows the new design direction of the company. A first for Kia, this sports sedan with four doors and real-wheel drive setup combines muscular and classy proportions with elegant and luxurious cockpit with four seats.

Even if the Kia GT concept was first initiated in November 2010, the dream of building a superior rear-wheel drive saloon had settled in the cognizance of Kia designers in Europe. The Chief Design Officer of Kia, Peter Schreyer, described the concept as a way to explore the thrills of modern design since the use of a rear-drive layout results to proportions that are unique and different from a front-wheel drive vehicle. The car’s distinct layout shall effectively attract not only Korean clientele but also the American and European markets.

Kia’s Design Chief for Europe, Gregory Guillaume, adds that the developers and designers of the concept took its inspiration from the iconic GT cars in the 1970s. Those elegant and sophisticated vehicles are popular for their ability to drive passengers from Paris to Southern France effortlessly at high speeds. Thus, the team, at the start of the project, has since wanted to build a graceful but confident car.

The car’s focus on pace and dynamism is highlighted by its aeronautical motif, especially by its propeller-style carbon-fiber and alloy wheels, jet-themed cameras for rear vision, the aerodynamic rear diffuser, the low-lying front air intake, and the winglets that arc in from the flanks and drift into the headlamps.

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Topics: kia, design

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