Autocar is reporting that Kia has its ever-eager eyes on the affordable RWD sporty coupe market. It’s 2008 Kee coupe concept could borrow the Genesis coupe’s RWD platform when it eventually makes its appearance.
In an exclusive interview Kia design director Peter Schreyer told Autocar that the Kee wasn’t in the European product plan for the next two years, but also confirmed that he is very keen to bring added strength and desirability to the Kia brand with such a car.
Sounds keen. Details follow:
Schreyer says he would support the switch to RWD even if it makes the Kee more expensive to build.
“Assuming Kia’s European fortunes continue to improve at the rate they are now, we could be ready in, say, five years for a car like Kee. We could spin it off the Cee’d or Magentis platform, but for me, it would be important for the Kee to be rear-wheel drive. And there is, of course, already a rear-driven platform within the Hyundai-Kia group that we could look to use, if our timing was good.
“We would have to aim to rival the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota’s new rear-driven coupe. The car would not need to be very fast or very powerful, but it should be compact, affordable and fun – a true sports car.”
“Personally, I have to say that I’m very excited by the idea, and very enthusiastic to make it happen.”
Did he just say five years? Ouch. But then Kia moves fairly briskly. Or not; Schreyer says that Kia’s Korean management board is “habitually conservative and pragmatic”. The key to Kia’s success?
“The problem with Kee is that no one – not in Europe, the USA or Korea – can say with confidence what numbers the Kee would sell in.
“We are not like Audi or Porsche. We are not in a position to just create something and then announce to the market that it’s the perfect kind of sports car.”
“When you’re making cars like this, it’s important to make them with a great deal of confidence,” he went on. “So I think the Kia brand has to grow a little more in stature before the time will be right for Kee.”
At the rate Kia is growing in stature in the US, the time could well be right…now.