Currently reading: Kia plans ‘Toyobaru’ rival
Kee to become affordable rear-drive sports car

Kia’s 2008 Kee coupe concept could be turned into a compact, rear-driven, affordable production sports car using recycled platform technology from Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe.

In an exclusive interview Kia design director Peter Schreyer told Autocar that the Kee wasn’t in the European product plan for the next two years, but also confirmed that he is very keen to bring added strength and desirability to the Kia brand with such a car.

Toyota FT-86 - full details and pictures

Kia Venga 1.4 CRDi first drive

What’s more, Schreyer would back the adoption of a rear-driven platform, even though it could make the Kee more costly to manufacture.

“The next two years are about replacing and renewing our current line up of core models,” he said. “Before the end of 2011 we will launch an all-new Picanto, a replacement for the Rio and a new Magentis.

“These are naturally our priorities because they are proven volume sellers. And the problem with Kee is that no one – not in Europe, the USA or Korea – can say with confidence what numbers the Kee would sell in.

“We are not like Audi or Porsche. We are not in a position to just create something and then announce to the market that it’s the perfect kind of sports car.”

Schreyer also told Autocar that Kia’s Korean executive management board is habitually conservative and pragmatic. meaning that, unlike Lexus with the IS-F, Kia would never invest in a sports car before a watertight and profitable business case was made.

“When you’re making cars like this, it’s important to make them with a great deal of confidence,” he went on. “So I think the Kia brand has to grow a little more in stature before the time will be right for Kee.”

“Assuming Kia’s European fortunes continue to improve at the rate they are now, we could be ready in, say, five years for a car like Kee. We could spin it off the Cee’d or Magentis platform, but for me, it would be important for the Kee to be rear-wheel drive. And there is, of course, already a rear-driven platform within the Hyundai-Kia group that we could look to use, if our timing was good.

“We would have to aim to rival the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota’s new rear-driven coupe. The car would not need to be very fast or very powerful, but it should be compact, affordable and fun – a true sports car.”

“Personally, I have to say that I’m very excited by the idea, and very enthusiastic to make it happen.”

Twitter - follow all the latest Kia reviews, news and video

Back to top

Join the debate

Add a comment…
HyundaiSmoke 17 December 2009

Re: Kia plans ‘Toyobaru’ rival

KIA probably will sell it in the States first Rallye. The States is still their largest market. This or the Genesis has and will have more power than a Scirocco. Next Gen US Rio with a 2.0 will be more on the Scirocco's level in terms of horsepower to weight ratios.

Like I said before Hyundai KIA doesnt take Europe as seriously as the States, the main reason why is becuase of the Euro domestic competitors. Hyundai/KIa has the chance here to bring out cars that have passion yet the superior reliability most people expect from these cars.

Hyundai/KIAs new look may not be as passionate Looking as the Euro stuff but it blows most of the product sold by any make in the US Market out of the water. That Euro Market, might require a different look for the company.

RallyeSport Guy 14 December 2009

Re: Kia plans ‘Toyobaru’ rival

kia are kidding themself's! no one is going to buy a kia coupe cos of the badge.

If they make it, it will face tough compition against vw sircocco, mx5, alfa brera, 3 series and even the hydandi gensis, if it comes here.

HyundaiSmoke 13 December 2009

Re: Kia plans ‘Toyobaru’ rival

rtwingo, well Mustang and Camaro guys dont have the slightest care in the world about the snow and ice. They know they are going to slip and they dont care. They have to have that Mustang or Camaro.

If they are really concerned, they keep the Stang or Camaro in the Garage in the Winter and bring their AWD SUV out.