St­ing in the tale

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - NEWS -

KIA’s sen­sa­tional Stinger show car will be­come a road-go­ing re­al­ity in Aus­tralia in a lit­tle more than a year.

Kia will be tak­ing a gi­ant dive into the un­known with the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the Stinger, which has been de­vel­oped to be more like a hard­core BMW M4 than the brand’s pre­vi­ous sporty-ish ef­forts, among them the Pro­ceed GT and Koup.

It’s also head­ing for a new price high for the South Korean brand, be­yond the $60,000 of its flag­ship Sorento SUV.

“This car is the CK. It comes next year,” says Kia Mo­tors Aus­tralia chief SH Cho — CK be­ing the Kia co­de­name for the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the 2014 show car. Cho is re­luc­tant to go into de­tail on the CK, but sug­gests the Stinger pro­vides the de­sign di­rec­tion.

How­ever, Kia in­sid­ers hint at a twin-turbo V6 and rear-wheel drive in an all-new me­chan­i­cal plat­form that is not shared — yet — with Hyundai. It will be sim­i­lar in size to the sis­ter com­pany’s com­pact Ge­n­e­sis G30 that’s com­ing next year.

The CK is be­lieved to be the first project in South Korea by Al­bert Bier­mann, who was for­merly the vice-pres­i­dent of en­gi­neer­ing at the M per­for­mance di­vi­sion at BMW.

Bier­mann was poached by Hyundai-Kia to de­velop high­per­for­mance mod­els and his brief also cov­ers ve­hi­cle test­ing.

He is the sec­ond high­rank­ing Ger­man to join the Kore­ans. Peter Schreyer be­gan as head of de­sign at Kia Mo­tors and was later pro­moted to be­come one of three pres­i­dents.

The Stinger will join two other im­por­tant all-new ar­rivals for 2017. “We have all­new Rio in Jan­uary, then new Pi­canto in March, and CK in July. This will be a very big year for us,” says Cho.

He says there will be a step change in Aus­tralian sales next year. There are no more new ar­rivals for 2016 and he aims to lay the ground­work for a big push in 2017.

“This year we aim for 38,000 sales. Next year we want to be over 50,000,” he says. “We have a lot of new prod­uct next year. And it’s ex­pand­ing the range.”

PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER

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