By on December 12, 2009

keen on the kee?

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.

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14 Comments on “Kia Plans “Toyobaru” RWD Coupe Rival...”

  • avatar

    It takes 36 months to go from “okay let’s commit a few billion to make the car” to the time an average person can to go into a dealership and purchase the car.  And then that vehicle has to sell for a 4 to 6 years after that.  I’m guessing few people would be albe to describe their own individual career/family 5-year plan let alone knowing what car they’ll be buying in 5 years.

  • avatar

    This doesn’t seem like a great idea for at least two reasons:
    1. The small RWD market isn’t big and with Mazda, Toyota and Subaru (and possibly Nissan) already either planning or already in the market, the potential profits are small.
    2. Given the parent companies efforts with the Hyundai brand with the Genesis coupe and sedan they should launch any RWD sports product under the Hyundai brand if they were to decide they needed a small RWD coupe. It’s high time they started to focus on the brand identity and values and differentiate Kia and Hyundai.

  • avatar

    That picture ranks as one of the worst looking cars I’ve ever seen. Fugly doesn’t begin to describe it. I actually think the modified Tata Nano looked better. The market for coupes is so small I don’t know why they’d even bother. Kia should forget about this design and bringing out a RWD coupe. This design is truly horrendous.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    There is some derivative styling influences at work here. But I don’t mind, either, since it reminds me of the Lancia Stratos.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    With all this interest in  furrin RWD platforms,  RWD cars aint   dead  yet.  Hooray

  • avatar

    Will it be available as a convertible?

  • avatar

    all they need to do is use the current Forte coupe body and stuff an RWD chassis under it

  • avatar

    Hey Mazda!  Get to work on a Kabura, asap!  You already have the inexpensive, lightweight, rear-drive Miata… how hard would it be to give it +2 seating, a stupid smiling grille up front, and MX-6-esque styling everywhere else?

  • avatar

    Shrinking the Genesis platform into a car the size of a shortened Impreza/slightly larger Miata will require greatly stretching the definition of platform.

    Hyundai, and other companies, should try to license the Miata/RX-8 platform from Mazda.  It is the best small front engined RWD platform on earth, and Mazda could use the partnerships/money now that the Ford partnership is unwinding.

    It probably wouldn’t make sense to license the platform for a convertible that would compete against the Miata, but amazing small coupes could be built on the platform.  A small coupe with a conventional engine, like this Kee concept, isn’t going to steal RX-8 sales because the rotary is a love it or hate it proposition.

  • avatar

    The Astra called – it wants its front end back

  • avatar

    OK, OK, the Dr. Seuss-ian name Kia Sephia was bad enough.
    Kia Kee?  Come ON, people.

  • avatar

    Hmmmm….  I’m not sure the whole alliteration thing works so well for Kia:

    Kia Kiowa?

    Kia Keokuk?

    Kia Coelacanth?

    Kia Keanu?

  • avatar

    Does closing the doors sound like a dull thud or a car crash?

    Does the interior noise level stay below 76db(a) measured at the driver’s right ear on I-90 between Seattle (mp 0) and Snoqualmie Pass summit (mp 40)?

    Is the V6 a 60-degree or a boat-anchor 90-degree?

    Can it brake 60-0 mph in less than 130 feet?

    Can it be purchased without a leak roof?

    Get back to me when we know if we have a REAL contender.






  • avatar

    Shrinking the Genesis platform into a car the size of a shortened Impreza/slightly larger Miata will require greatly stretching the definition of platform.
    Not really.  Witness the Nissan FM platform: everything from the stubby little Z-Car two-seater to the FX SUV.

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