Kia design boss Peter Schreyer wants more emotionally-styled flagship products for the brand.
In a sit-down interview at the New York Auto Show last week, Schreyer highlighted the GT concept that was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show a few years back. That design study transformed into the K900, a car that currently sits as the Korean automaker’s top-tier luxury model, targeted at German super-sedans like the S-Class and 7 Series.
But Kia has had several wild concept cars over the past few years, very few of which have made the transition to production. For example, it unveiled the hot hatch Trackster concept in Chicago more than a year ago. The Niro concept seen late last year in Frankfurt is now touring around the U.S. and showcases Kia’s interest in hydrogen drivetrains. Most recently, the brand showed a rear-wheel drive sports car concept in Detroit called the GT4 Stinger.
“I think some how, at some point, we need more of those cars as flagships,” he said in reference to other Kia’s recent stable of concepts. “Halo cars are quite important for the brand image,” he said.
Earlier in the month during a media launch of the 2015 Genesis, Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski emphasized how Hyundai and Kia are moving in more distinct design directions.
“The Stinger would be nice. Or a car like that,” Schreyer said. But Kia product planning vice president Orth Hendrick downplayed the possibility of a small sports coupe in Kia’s near future, saying the development costs are probably too high to justify despite a positive reception for the concept.
“These kind of cars are never high number, multi-volume cars. Of course not,” Shreyer said, acknowledging that such a product wouldn’t be a breadwinner for Kia.
But Hyundai and Kia share engineering resources and it’s hard to imagine that the platform underpinning the new Genesis sedan won’t be used by both brands. That could mean more of the same from Kia with an updated K900, but then again maybe not.