Kia bosses say there isn't a business case to launch upmarket models, although improved specifications could attract new buyers
10 October 2013

Kia has ruled out introducing larger, upmarket models to the UK market, but sees potential for more upscaled variants of existing products.

UK commercial director, Yaser Shasbogh, played down the introduction of models like the K9/Quoris and K7/Cadenza saloons. He said: “There’s always a chance of selling a car like that, but at what volume? That segment is by definition very premium and it’s very small for non-premium brands.

“We’re not planning to do anything like that in the near future, but we would like to do a sports car. But we wouldn’t necessarily want to go up [in size or prestige] in the range.”

“German premium marques are involved in a war for leadership and are spending an awful lot of money fighting for every single unit. And Japanese brands are struggling to find a space in the market. It isn’t a market where we can just bring in a big car with nice, high margins. It would be expensive to do, expensive to sell and just a distraction from our business.

“But we want to be a dynamic brand and that sits a lot better. The only thing that is missing is a sports car.”

Shasbogh says that although not actively targetting current owners of German and Japanese premium marques, dealers are receiving a significant number of models in part exchange.

While the introduction of larger, more expensive models that could confuse Kia’s value-for-money reputation, sales director David Ovenden says it would be easy to expand the range of variants offered in existing model ranges. 

“We sell a rich mix of models; a high mix of ‘2’ and ‘3’ grades and we think there’s potential for us to have even richer grades like 4s across all our models”, he said.

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Kia Optima

The Kia Optima has looks, practicality and value on its side. But in a class of talented models, it is an also-ran.

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Comments
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10 October 2013

That sounds like sensible analysis of current market conditions - and the fact that Kia have upmarket models already in production for other markets means they could react quickly if/when European market conditions change.

10 October 2013

Its disappointing when any manufacturer decides we shouldnt get their better products, but at the same time it is too soon for Kia (recently a bargain basement brand) to be trying to be upmarket with these cars with any conviction.

More disappointing is the narrow range on engines in their other products. The Optima saloon looks great, but only comes with a small diesel engine. I would have looked at one with a larger petrol engine and manual box, and i am sure others must find the current range restrictive. If Kia want to move up market slowly they need to address these areas first

10 October 2013
artill wrote:

Its disappointing when any manufacturer decides we shouldnt get their better products, but at the same time it is too soon for Kia (recently a bargain basement brand) to be trying to be upmarket with these cars with any conviction.

More disappointing is the narrow range on engines in their other products. The Optima saloon looks great, but only comes with a small diesel engine. I would have looked at one with a larger petrol engine and manual box, and i am sure others must find the current range restrictive. If Kia want to move up market slowly they need to address these areas first

Have you test drove the Optima ? It may only have a 1.7 diesel engine but will keep up with the best. I tell many to test drive as you may be surprised.

Optima2

10 October 2013

GASP!! ... Someone in the car industry without any delusions of grandeur ... Well said, Mr Shasbogh!! ...

10 October 2013
Suzuki QT wrote:

GASP!! ... Someone in the car industry without any delusions of grandeur ... Well said, Mr Shasbogh!! ...

i don't think he is saying that at all. He is saying larger and more upmarket models will require a lot of marketing and promotion to validate a position further upmarket (and possibly sell in Alfa/Volvo/Honda territory. He is seeing the bottom line figures and saying it is not worth it for the added expense. What it does mean is much more expensive i30 and C'eed models. They are quite content to fight it out with Fiat, Citroen and Skoda for the time being. To be fair, I think people would baulk at a £40,000 Kia.

10 October 2013

Seven series almost don't we think...?

Peter Cavellini.

10 October 2013

We're lucky we even get to see the Optima, and they don't just follow Nissan / Renault / Mitsubishi's footsteps and just sell a range of citycars and SUVs in the UK.

The current new car market is bland bland bland.

10 October 2013

Finally a brand which knows its strengths and where they are in the market and sticks to them! I'm bored of all this 'we want to be premium' rubbish from the mainstream, all most of them do is slap on some led's.

10 October 2013
Sam_notts wrote:

Finally a brand which knows its strengths and where they are in the market and sticks to them! I'm bored of all this 'we want to be premium' rubbish from the mainstream, all most of them do is slap on some led's.

I agree, you have to admire Hyundai/Kia's current approach to selling cars in Europe. Very slick.
They now just need to consider how they can add more excitement to their range and leave the premium-chasing nonsense well alone.

10 October 2013
MikeSpencer wrote:
Sam_notts wrote:

Finally a brand which knows its strengths and where they are in the market and sticks to them! I'm bored of all this 'we want to be premium' rubbish from the mainstream, all most of them do is slap on some led's.

I agree, you have to admire Hyundai/Kia's current approach to selling cars in Europe. Very slick.
They now just need to consider how they can add more excitement to their range and leave the premium-chasing nonsense well alone.

Mike - add in more engines, interior and exterior options. Most models are only available with 1 engine and interior trim. This is good for them but bad for the customer. Premium for them would mean competing with Ford, Vauxhall, Renault, Peugeot and VW (where ther eare more options) . They are still seen a s a budget brand albeit with decidedly non-budget prices at the moment. Yes there is lots of profit in competing with Mercedes, Jaguar and BMW, but that takes a lot of marketing budget and dedication.

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