Kia is close to giving the green light to the oft-mooted production version of the striking Kia GT Concept first seen at the Frankfurt motor show in 2011. Senior figures within the Korean company have said the car could appear “at the end of 2016 or early in 2017”.
Soon-Nam Lee, vice-president of overseas marketing group for KMC, said there was a strong desire within the company to explore more sporting production models, particularly in European markets.
Lee explained that during a long-term product planning meeting in Singapore recently, Kia Motors (UK) president and chief executive Paul Philpott expressed an interest in seeing the GT Concept reach the showrooms.
“We have a plan to produce the GT,” confirmed Lee. “We understand this is something that the European markets strongly want, although mainly we are targeting the US.”
The GT Concept broke new ground for the company when it appeared just over two years ago, because it signalled Kia’s intent to capitalise on its rapid European growth by producing bolder, more dynamic models.
Power for the concept comes from a 3.3-litre turbocharged petrol V6 engine, which produces 390bhp and 394lb ft of torque. A similar engine is being considered for Kia’s flagship K9/Quoris new luxury saloon in the US. Drive to the concept’s rear wheels is transferred via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Kia has also had internal discussions about adding more performance cars to its current model range to complement the recently launched Procee’d GT. The warm hatch has been well received, although its mid-level performance leaves plenty of scope for Kia to consider a full-blown Volkswagen Golf GTI rival in the future.
“At this moment, we are hearing our customers’ feedback on the Procee’d GT,” said Lee. “Based on that, we'll decide if we will enhance it with more power, but we have not decided yet.”
Lee ruled out the prospect of Kia establishing its own performance sub-brand, along the lines of BMW’s M division or Audi’s Quattro, in the immediate future.
Such a development, he said, suited brands such as BMW, but might not be accepted from Kia until it had further established the sporting and high-quality credentials of the brand – a process that is under way.