Kia high-end sports car to build brand image – CEO

November 22, 2012

An all-new high-end Kia performance model is on the agenda as the company CEO focuses on building the brand image. Various possibilities are being considered, including a production version of the Kia GT concept car.

Speaking to Autocar in the UK recently, Kia CEO Hyoung-Keun Lee revealed he wants a sports car in the future lineup. It’s now just a matter of making a decision on what concept and what sort of layout to go for.

He revealed a new sports concept car is being planned for the Geneva Motor Show in March, which may turn into a production model if it is well received. Lee said,

“We haven’t decided yet, but we need a certain product to help with our brand image. We have tried a couple of concept cars and found some potential in the GT. We will try a couple more in the future, starting at Geneva next year, and test the media and consumer response before choosing one.”

The company is planning on releasing a showroom version of the Kia Procee’d concept in some markets in the near future, which is a sports version of the company’s overseas ‘Cee’d’ hatch, based on the Hyundai i30 platform. The Procee’d will come with the same 1.6-litre GDI turbo four-cylinder as seen in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, producing 150kW.

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Like the Veloster Turbo though, the Procee’d is front-wheel drive. Lee is thinking along the lines of something more high-end for the future, and something that is more driver-focused. He said,

“In my opinion, a sports car should be rear-wheel drive. When I was at Hyundai we tried the Coupe with front-wheel drive. It was considered sporty looking, but the driveability was different.”

To refresh your memory, the Kia GT was a rear-wheel drive concept, featuring a stout 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 producing 290kW of power and 534Nm of torque. This is exactly the kind of setup that could really put Kia on the map in terms of sports cars.

A final decision on what will be made is likely to occur after the new concept is unveiled at the Geneva show. We’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.