Strange to say it, but for a car company that places great value in the strength of its bold designs - Peter Schreyer can’t come cheap, after all - Kia seems to be unusually shy when it comes to getting on with a performance model.
It’s encouraging that the ‘youthful, sporty’ end of the Hyundai-Kia empire is at last considering a proper convertible and, best of all, a hot hatchback to take on the VW Golf GTI. But at the same time, it’s in no rush to bring a 200bhp-plus version of the Cee’d to market. And Kia sources say that while it’s ready to make a pure sports car in engineering terms, it’s waiting for customer perception of the brand to catch up before it considers offering such a model to the public.
Seems to me that Kia needs to take the lead here. Cars like the Cee’d and new Sportage have done much to transform the brand’s image; the forthcoming Picanto and Soul are likely to build on this further.
So why wait for customers to bang down the door before bringing a truly desirable performance car to market? Buyers know that Kia’s designs have moved on. What we’re waiting for now is a thrilling road car that builds on the progress made in the styling department.