Kia's European boss has reaffirmed his company's ambitious future strategy

Positive reaction to the Kia GT concept proves that the Korean marque is ready to move away from its budget brand reputation, according to its European boss, Paul Philpott.

“Almost everyone has accepted the GT as being the right kind of car for Kia, and that says we’re ready to stretch the brand further,” said Philpott. “If we can get the same reaction globally as we did in Frankfurt then the GT can play a key role in moving the whole brand forward.”

See pictures of the Kia GT concept from last week's Frankfurt show

The GT is expected to go into production in 2013, once Kia has renewed its current line-up of six mainstream models.

“The first step is to have the kind of mainstream cars that can compete with the likes of Ford and Citroën in all sectors of the market. Once we are satisfied that they are all credible, then we will look at extensions beyond that.”

The GT also underlines Kia’s ambitions to be viewed as a sporty brand. Philpott confirmed this will lead to the creation of hot versions of its mainstream cars, starting with the next-generation Cee’d, which goes on sale in 2012, and could lead to an involvement in motorsport.

“It’s early days yet, but clearly for a brand that wants to be known for sporty cars, then going into motorsport could be interesting,” he said.

Jim Holder

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