THE OWNER

Evo India - - KIA STINGER GT -

‘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?

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