‘THE STINGER GT IS ONE OF OUR EFFORTS TO DELIVER what Kia stands for,’ says Spencer Cho, general manager of the overseas product marketing team. ‘We’re trying to be defined as the young and sporty brand.’ With that in mind, I wonder, why did Kia arrive at a fourdoor GT rather than a true sports car, perhaps a rival to the Boxster?
‘We believe that the four-door, four-seater model has much more potential from the market standpoint. Probably a two-door, two-seater looks much nicer, but in reality there are very small numbers of people who will actually buy that.’ It’s about volume, then. The Stinger isn’t just tasked with turning Kia’s image around, it must be a profit-making model line in its own right.
Cho won’t be drawn on other forthcoming models, but he does say the company is working on a number of cars in sectors Kia hasn’t explored before. Nothing should be ruled out for now and given that Kia’s revenues ran to $43bn in 2015, nothing need be ruled out, either.
The Stinger GT is forecast to cost around `36 lakh in the UK, which for many buyers will be quite a stretch for a car that wears the humble Kia badge, for so long a symbol of affordability and functionality – pragmatism, in other words.
‘This is not an easy task, we know,’ says Cho. ‘For this car we will deliver one of the best design languages we have ever had and a lot of high-tech features and functions will be added. We know we have certain barriers of the brand to tackle.
‘People may not need this car, but people should love this car and want to have it regardless of how many cars they have in their garage. We have to deliver one of our best products as well as we can.’ Who, exactly, are these people?
‘Frankly speaking, I don’t think we can get people who have owned German premium vehicles into Kia easily,’ says Cho. ‘Of course we will get some, but probably we will get the mainstream buyers. We are trying to get more of the premium buyers, but we are not that naïve [to think it will be easy]. It will take time, but we will get there.’
WHY DID KIA ARRIVE AT A FOURDOOR GT RATHER THAN A TRUE SPORTS CAR?