Kia Execs Want People to Stop Being Ashamed of Driving Kias

Sami Haj-Assaad
by Sami Haj-Assaad

Have you ever seen a car on the road that looks kind of like a Kia, but wasn’t wearing a Kia badge?

This is because a lot of Kia drivers swap out the factory badge on their cars for another one that looks very similar to a Lexus emblem to hide the fact that they’re driving a Kia. Kia started its life in North America as a budget brand, so it’s understandable that some people might want to hide their Kia’s true identity.

This is a trend that Kia hopes will stop with the launch of its upcoming grand tourer, the Stinger GT, a car that brings the brand upmarket and can also cater to the enthusiast. This car will help break many barriers for the Korean automaker and show the world what it’s capable of.

“We think we’re going to surprise many people with this car,” said Orth Hedrick, vice-president of product planning at Kia. Hedrick said that the brand has noticed people swapping badges and used this as motivation to build cars that drivers can be proud of.

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“People buy a car to express themselves in some way,” he said, suggesting that people can’t go out and tell everyone their net worth, so cars become a representation of one’s place or social standing in the world. The Kia Stinger GT wants to make sure that message is loud and clear: it’s luxurious and sporty and built to the same standards as expensive German vehicles.

With former Audi and BMW execs at the helm of Kia, it’s very possible they can pull off this change in public perception. For example, Global Chief of Design Peter Schryer came from Audi and has been leading the Korean automaker through a high point in car design, while former BMW M Brand VP Albert Biermann is now in charge of Vehicle Dynamics at Kia.

2017 New York Auto Show Coverage

With the new rear-wheel-drive Kia Stinger GT, the automaker wants to change people’s perception of the brand, hopefully leaving buyers satisfied and proud enough to keep the proper Kia badges on the hood and trunklid of their vehicles.

Discuss this story on our Kia Rio Forum

Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad

Sami has an unquenchable thirst for car knowledge and has been at AutoGuide for the past six years. He has a degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto and has won multiple journalism awards from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada. Sami is also on the jury for the World Car Awards.

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2 of 45 comments
  • Daniel Vega Daniel Vega on Nov 12, 2018

    A little late to the discussion but you guys should know that there is no such thing as a Korean market Kia badge. I know because I lived in Korea for 2 yrs. Kia uses the same badge in Korea and in the USA with the exception to the E badge which is as far as I know only for the Stinger.

  • Kelvin Allen Kelvin Allen on Sep 21, 2022

    KIA makes a very nice vehicle, depending what you like. I have a 2017 Black Sportage SxTurbo, had a 2019 Federation Orange Stinger GTS (hydroplane accident 2022), and I now have 2022 Black Forte GT2. I enjoy my KIAs. The one thing KIA needs is remember: There is no Replacement for Displacement!!! The Forte GT2 (201 hp) should have a GT3 (301 hp)!!! I can buy a Charger, Mustang, AMG, BMW with all the horses to satisfy hat want, but not KIA, Step It Up, increase the/my Love for KIA!$!