There’s been speculation regarding the new Kia K9 full-size luxury sedan in the U.S., a vehicle that runs from $45,000 to $75,000 at current exchange rates. Not too long ago, a Kia K9 was even spotted on public roads in Irvine, California, not far from Kia Motors America’s headquarters. So what gives?
We reached out to Kia’s James Hope, who said in an email, “KMA is still evaluating the possibility of bringing the K9 to the U.S. market. At this time, no decision has been taken. It is common for KMA to receive vehicles and drive them on public roads as part of our evaluation process.”
Currently, Kia is seen as a mainstream brand, competing in the middle of the market against the likes of Honda, Toyota, and Chevrolet. Over in South Korea, where the Kia K9 is sold, the automaker is the No. 2 brand behind Hyundai. Together, Korean automakers represent almost 90 percent of their domestic market. So if you’re going to get a lux car there, an expensive Kia isn’t out of the question.
Kia is keeping on its quest of global domination, though, stretching well beyond its Seoul roots. However, the U.S. doesn’t look to be primed for an ultra-luxury Kia sedan quite yet. Rumor has circulated for a while that they Kia K7 Cadenza would be headed to our shores for the 2013 model year alongside its Hyundai Azera platform mate. The K9, which would likely get a new name if it were to come to the U.S., slots in size between the Hyundai Genesis sedan and Equus, but it’s available with more technology features like full-LED headlights, a headup display, radar cruise control, and other features often unseen still on cars south of $100,000.
Chances are the car wouldn’t cost as much as it does overseas given that Kia isn’t an established player in the luxury sedan arena here. It also wouldn’t dare step on top of the larger Hyundai Equus in terms of price, which tops out at $66,900 in the U.S., including destination and handling. In its home market, though, a comparable Equus would come in at nearly $100,000.
But with the tech and all, given that we know Kia more for its funky Soul hatchback and hamster commercials than for leather, luxury, and valet desirability, is it possible for Kia to build up its brand in the next few years where it’s possible to consider one as a viable alternative to a BMW or Mercedes-Benz?
Source: Kia, Kia via Twitter