Kia hints at sports car future


Kia needs to create a sports car for the masses – just like Mazda did with its MX-5 –when the brand heads down the performance car route.

There has been talk of the Korean manufacturer launching a sports car for some time – but management has been undecided in what shape it should appear.

A large rear-wheel drive coupe, showcased in the GT concept at Frankfurt in 2012, is one option while a smaller offering, like the Provo concept shown in Geneva earlier this year, is also on the table.

Thomas Oh, executive vice president and COO International Business Division, told AOL Cars that he believes a Kia sports car should aimed at the biggest selling segments – pointing towards the smaller car as the current preferred option.

"We have seen big growth in the B/C/D segments in Western Europe and it's here I think where a sports car would work for Kia," explained Oh, referring to the brand's success with the Rio, Cee'd and Optima in Europe.

"We need to develop further in these segments and it's this sized car where I'd prefer we do a sports car if we did it."

Oh said there is still a lot of work to be done by the brand first in terms of improving image and quality perceptions – but that will lay a path for more exciting cars in the future.

He added: "The brand image is not so high at the moment and we'd need a sports car to deliver in all areas, especially in marketing the brand right. It will need to deliver the emotional feel of our brand."

Kia Sports Concepts

Kia Sports Concepts

Oh also revealed there are plans to extend the GT performance range of cars further and said Kia was closely monitoring its success in Europe.

Earlier this year Kia launched the Pro Cee'd GT which has gone down well with buyers and the press. "Step by step we'll add to the GT line," he said.

"We are monitoring the development of this car in markets closely."

The Rio – Kia's Ford Fiesta challenger – is ripe for the GT treatment, but Oh wouldn't be drawn on whether this car would be next for a sporty makeover.

Shame as that's the one we want to see next...