Kia's UK boss Paul Philpott has revealed more details about his firm's upcoming sports car, which will be on sale "by the end of the decade".
Details of the new model are limited, although Kia says it will draw from the knowledge it has gained from developing the widely admired GT and Stinger GT4 concepts. The GT is an elegantly aggressive four-door, rear-drive coupé, while the Stinger is a more compact coupé in the mould of the Toyota GT86.
The new car will be a model in its own right rather than being based on another Kia and will be “affordable”, according to Philpott. He added that it will need to be sold worldwide to achieve viable production numbers, saying: "a sports car just for Europe doesn’t have the critical mass to justify the level of investment required."
Such a move means the US market will influence its format heavily, although Philpott expects the model to contribute usefully to Kia’s ambition of selling 100,000 cars annually in the UK before the decade is out. This year the company expects to sell slightly more than 80,000 vehicles here.
The new model will carry the GT moniker somewhere in its name, and is intended to sit at the top of a three-tier performance strategy for the brand. Beneath the halo model will be 'GT' versions of Kia's regular road cars, such as the new Proceed GT and the upcoming Optima GT, while entry-level 'GT Line' versions of other models will also be available. GT Line models receive GT styling packages, but not performance-oriented powertrains.
The sports car's architecture and engine could be shared with a similar high-performance model from sister brand Hyundai - with Hyundai's version launched under its N Performance brand.
Philpott said that despite good public reaction to the first two GT concept cars, Kia wouldn't be "pushed into a corner just because everyone cries out for it [a sports car]."
Although official timescales only place Kia's sports car as arriving before 2020, it was revealed in December of last year that the first performance models from both Kia and Hyundai are slated for introduction in 2016.
Philpott has also previously confirmed that a B-segment crossover, designed to compete with Nissan’s Juke, will arrive within two years. Kia previewed a possible crossover with the Provo concept at the 2013 Geneva motor show. “We’ll do it right and be a force to be reckoned with,” said Philpott.
Following a relatively slow period of new model introduction, there is set to be a spate of new models from Kia as several models approach the end of their six-year life cycles.
Additional reporting by Darren Moss
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: