Prudence and a steady pace could be key factors in Kia’s bid to lure entry-level luxury buyers.
Just like parent company Hyundai, the Korean automaker is now offering an upscale vehicle. For Hyundai, that path started with the Genesis sedan and progressed to the Equus — for Kia it’s the Cadenza. Those cars compete on different planes and that’s important for more reasons than cross-brand redundancy.
As marketing executive Michael Sprague said to Automotive News, the brand began by establishing itself in the mid-size sedan market with the redesigned Optima in late 2010. The move was meant to serve as a baby step in elevating the brand before trying to launch a luxury-oriented vehicle.
In South Korea, the Cadenza is called the K7 and has been on sale since 2007, but Sprague said launching in North America didn’t make sense at the time.
But now the Cadenza is about to wrap up its maiden month of sales in North America. The brand forecasts that 12,000 units will sell annually, and there isn’t long to wait until the first indicator of its market performance is in sight.
But where Hyundai is targeting brands like BMW, Audi and Mercedes, Kia is aiming considerably lower.
“We standardized leather, we standardized navigation because we’re going after people who are buying the high-end Tauruses, the high-end Avalons the high-end Chrysler 300s, the Acura TLs, the Lexus ES and the Lincoln MKZ,” Sprague said. “That’s where we see the opportunity.”
The next question, which will be answered in the coming months, is whether or not Kia’s latest product is enough to woo new buyers while preventing attrition among curent owners.
[Source: Automotive News]
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