Tag: Kia

By on October 10, 2017

2017 Kia Cadenza - Image: Kia

For over a decade now, Kia has slowly but surely been moving toward doing the impossible —transitioning the brand image from “subprime, budget, shady, and non-desirable” to “a slightly Buick-ized version of Hyundai.” In order to do this, Kia dealers have always relied on the one factor in their favor, which is the ability to sell on price. While the MSRPs on Kias aren’t too far off the competition, the stores have historically dumped new inventory at prices well below the sticker. Looking at an Altima? Why not try this Optima at $3,000 off instead?

Of course, when you operate this way, it makes it difficult for salespeople and managers to make any money, since there’s little to no profit in the deal. For over a decade, Kia has offered sales staff what’s known in the business as a “spin” every time they sell a new car — they can call into a number or log on to a website and enter a VIN-specific code for a “spin” and a chance to win a bonus that ranges from $25-500 per car. If you sell Kias for a living, this is likely how you’ve been paying your bills for as long as you can remember.

According to sources within Kia dealerships, a little over a month ago, without warning, Kia stopped its OEM incentive program for management. Then, for October, again without warning, Kia stopped the spin program for sales people, also with no explanation. Rumor has it this decision comes from the new VP of Sales for Kia Motors America, Bill Peffer, who came to Kia from a dealership group in the Pacific Northwest. Dealers tell me that they’ve repeatedly e-mailed their corporate contacts for explanation, but none is expected.

Other than a sharp increase in the mortgage foreclosure rate for Kia dealer employees, what does this mean for Kia in the States?

(Read More…)

By on October 9, 2017

2018 Kia Rio EX 5-Door - Image: © Timothy CainDuring a year in which Kia is about to drop a BMW 3 Series-rivalling sports sedan with a price tag that rises above $50,000, it’s not hard to see why the arrival of a new Kia subcompact hatchback goes relatively unnoticed.

It’s not hard to see why the arrival of any subcompact goes unnoticed. In the United States, subcompact car sales are a pittance, forming just 2 percent of the market after losing one-fifth of their collective volume so far this year. Kia’s entry, meanwhile, fills only a narrow gap in America’s subcompact niche, suffering from a 51-percent year-over-year sales drop to only 11,952 sales in 2017’s first nine months, equal to just 4 percent of the subcompact market.

This is nothing new. U.S. interest in the Kia Rio, valued at over 50,000 annual sales way back in 2002, perked up with the dawn of the outgoing third-generation model half a decade ago but quickly diminished. Kia USA averaged fewer than 30,000 annual Rio sales over the last three years.

But you can forget the Stinger for a moment, you can set aside the K900, ignore the Cadenza, and temporarily dismiss the Sorento SX Limited. This is the 2018 Kia Rio. Kia won’t even let you spend more than $20,000 on this subcompact hatch. (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

2018 Kia Stinger GT - Image: KiaLet’s face it. Most American car buyers in 2017 don’t actually want cars. You know, the traditional passenger car. Most car buyers who actually want cars don’t want full-size sedans built by mainstream sedans. And among the few car buyers who actually want full-size volume brand sedans, the overwhelming majority — 99 percent, in fact — do not want a Kia Cadenza.

The U.S. market is about to get a lot more difficult for the Kia Cadenza, which is currently priced from $32,890. Admittedly more powerful than the forthcoming 2018 Kia Stinger, the Kia Cadenza is a nearly five-year-old front-wheel-drive luxury barge in a semi-attractive Kia body.

The 2018 Kia Stinger, on the other hand, is a flashy new cut-price sports sedan hatch, a model deserving of some anticipation that’s priced from $32,795, or ninety-five dollars less costly than the chronically unpopular Kia Cadenza. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

Alien Green 2018 Kia Soul

Korean automakers built their foundations on these shores by offering cars priced much more aggressively than established competition yet packed to the gunwales with features. Kia has come a long way since opening up shop with their first dealerships in – where else – Portland, Oregon. Keep it weird, Portland.

Even with the by-all-accounts superb Stinger and the not-offered-here funky Stonic pointing Kia in a bold new direction, the company stays true to its roots by continuing to offer an array of products squarely in the Mr. Noodles price range. One of the most popular? The Kia Soul, of course.

Is there a base model? Of course there is. This time, it’s right there in the name.

(Read More…)

By on September 26, 2017

Kia Stinger Genesis G70 - Images: Genesis, Kia“It’s all about how you bring across to the customer that they don’t feel they are driving or seeing the same car.” — Manfred Fitzgerald, Genesis Motors Senior Vice President

The 2018 Kia Stinger and 2018 Genesis G70 are platform partners, two new sporty and luxurious four-doors from the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group.

The timing of their release is synchronized. They utilize the same engine portfolio. They’ll compete in a similar price bracket. But there are differences. For starters, the styling is markedly different, the kind of difference one expects to find when one car, the Kia, is a hatchback and the other is a sedan. The Kia Stinger works harder to get noticed; the Genesis G70 is more subdued.

But while Hyundai’s Genesis spinoff will need to further differentiate the G70 from a marketing standpoint in order to provide a true luxury brand glow, it’s already been made clear by Albert Biermann, the former BMW chassis guru who’s now head of vehicle testing for Hyundai and Kia, that the cars are very similar. In terms of driving experience, “It’s not so easy maybe as with the styling, but I think we can find good tuning and calibration that set them a little bit apart,” Biermann said earlier this year.

A little bit.

Yet in a conversation with Manfred Fitzgerald, the senior vice president at the Genesis brand, Wards Auto received a strikingly different answer. Asked how the Genesis G70 differs from the Kia Stinger, Fitzgerald says, “You tell me. I don’t look at the Stinger. We’re focusing on something totally different.”

Your teenager calls this #shade. (Read More…)

By on September 12, 2017

2018 Kia Stonic, Image: Kia

If you’re an aspiring B-segment crossover owner looking for Korean value and a fresh face, but aren’t exactly enamored with the 2018 Hyundai Kona‘s looks, you’re out of luck. For now, anyways. The Kia Stonic, revealed in Europe earlier this summer, is definitely not making the boat ride to America. Well, probably definitely.

Definitely maybe.

The automaker says it has no current plans to offer the subcompact crossover — which is arguably better looking than the U.S.-bound Kona — to utility-crazed on this side of the ocean. It’s clear Kia isn’t so sure of the extent of Americans’ appetite for non-cavernous vehicles. (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2017

hyundai-sonata-eco-grille

Hyundai Motor Co. is squabbling with its Chinese partner, BAIC Motor, over efforts to reduce supplier costs. The automaker has already faced a myriad of problems with its Korean workforce and witnessed reduced volume in both China and North America this year.

However, its newest problem in the Far East isn’t simply a matter of tweaking its lineup. The issue also has political undertones as the North Korean missile crisis has pitted Beijing and Seoul at odds with each other. (Read More…)

By on August 1, 2017

Image: Assorted tail lamps from four vehicles.

Last week, we showed you four different vehicles, each with strikingly similar taillamps. So began the Taillamp Identification Challenge. (Un)fortunately, Flybrian was around, and came up with the correct answers just 10 minutes after the post went live.

So, the challenge was short lived, and all props go to Flybrian’s keen taillamp eye. It’s almost like he knows cars, or is a car dealer perhaps. Time for the official results.

(Read More…)

By on July 28, 2017

2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Image: HyundaiSince arriving early this year, Hyundai Motor America has managed only a meager 4,881 sales of its Prius-fighting Ioniq. Hyundai is certain there are far more Ioniq sales that could occur, however, if only Hyundai had the Ioniqs to sell.

Supply isn’t just tight — the Ioniq Electric is essentially nonexistent at Hyundai’s showrooms in California, the only state where it’s (supposed to be) available.

Yet while Hyundai awaits greater Ioniq inventory, the lack of which is clearly to blame for the low volume to date, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Kia came out on top in this deal. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2017

2018 Kia Sorento Korea - Image: Kia.com/krLaunched in third-generation form for the 2016 model year, it appears as though the Kia Sorento is due for some upgrades only two years into its lifecycle.

Perhaps the Sorento is in need of some changes. In a booming SUV/crossover market, Kia Sorento sales are down 15 percent in the United States through the first six months of 2017. It’s difficult enough matching 2016’s sales pace in 2017 when car sales are fading, but at Kia, both the Sorento and even newer Sportage are in decline, as well.

(Read More…)

By on June 29, 2017

2014 Kia Sorento EX-008

If there’s one thing shared by members of ISIS and the Western world, it’s an appreciation for the utility and versatility of high-value crossovers. Yes, even militant, fundamentalist killers have a myriad of needs requiring the likes of a Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sorento.

As Iraqi forces continue their push into territory previously seized by members of the Islamic State, visual evidence has emerged of the desperate tactics employed by the retreating fighters. Perhaps the most surprising are a plethora of Korean crossovers outfitted for battle. (Read More…)

By on June 20, 2017

2018 Kia Stonic, Image: Kia

After Hyundai dropped the curtain on its B-segment Kona crossover last week, corporate cousin Kia wasn’t far behind, pulling the wraps off its own new subcompact crossover earlier today.

The Stonic, which will go on sale in Europe in the third quarter of this year, rides atop the same platform as the Kona, but arguably wears it better. Sporting a more cohesive design, a sharp, contemporary face, and headlights in all the right places, the Stonic aims to gra Kia a slice of the growing subcompact utility vehicle market. In Europe, the segment is expected to grow to more than 10 percent of all new sales in just a few years.

That’s money Kia wants to take home to Korea. It’s not just overtaxed European buyers on Kia’s hit list, either; automakers are hurriedly adding missing CUVs to their North American lineups to boost sales and market share. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2017

Kia Stonic, Image: Kia Motors

Few automakers can afford to sit on the sidelines while rivals do battle in the growing subcompact crossover segment, and Kia sure isn’t one of them. Back in January, a trademark filing revealed Kia was developing a vehicle bearing an odd name — Stonic — which many rightly guessed would become the brand’s newest crossover. Well, that mystery vehicle is no longer a mystery.

The automaker has released concept sketches of its upcoming subcompact crossover, a high-beltline, low-roof runabout with wheels tailor-made for pelting stones off its sickly off-gold paint. (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2017

Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group - Tucson and Forte, Images: Hyundai & KiaMay 2017 was not a particularly healthy sales month for either of South Korea’s two major automakers in the United States. Including Hyundai’s Genesis spinoff brand, the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group declined 12 percent, year-over-year — a loss of more than 15,000 sales for the trio of Korean brands compared with May 2016.

Korea’s U.S. auto market share thus fell to 7.8 percent in May 2017, a drop of a full percentage point. In a market that’s seen sales fall 2 percent overall through the first five months of 2017, total Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group sales are down 7 percent following record annual volume in 2016.

Hyundai and Kia both underperformed the market in May, just as they’re both underperforming the market through the first five months of 2017. But by an altogether different standard, one member of the group will be pleased with May’s U.S. sales results.

In May 2017, for the first time in the brands’ U.S. sales history, Kia sold more new vehicles than Hyundai. Kia outsold Hyundai. Yes, it was the first time. But it surely won’t be the last. (Read More…)

By on May 30, 2017

2017 Genesis G80 winter mountains - Image: Genesis Motors

Amid stagnating U.S. sales, a crash-dive in China, and a product lineup not optimally suited for growth, Hyundai is furiously crafting a salvation plan.

In North America and other utility-loving countries, the strategy is clear: more crossovers and a significant product shakeup. The little Kona is already on the way, though perhaps not as quickly as Hyundai had hoped.

China, however, presents a serious problem for the automaker. What was supposed to be a growth market for the company has now turned into the opposite. Hyundai’s share of the market has shrunk to 5 percent from last year’s 8.1 percent, which was down from years past. In March alone, after news of South Korea’s installation of a U.S.-supplied anti-missile defense system, Hyundai and Kia sales dropped 52 percent.

Determined to make the Chinese fall back into love, the automaker has a plan brewing. (Read More…)

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