The Kia Badge Isn't Good Enough for Korean Stingers

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

It was jarring, when the 2018 Kia Stinger debuted, to see the automaker’s corporate badge prominently displayed on a desirable, rear-drive sports sedan. In spite of the sales gloom that surrounds the traditional passenger car market, some of us have wondered whether the badge alone might cause performance-minded premium car buyers to overlook the model when it appears on dealer lots.

In Korea, however, no one will be able to blame the model’s success or failure on the presence of a “Kia” badge. That’s because it won’t have one.

According to South Korea’s Pulse, Kia’s lengthy new compact sedan won’t be sold in that country with a Kia badge. While its name is the same everywhere, the automaker has apparently designed a wholly new emblem to use on Stingers sold in its home market.

That’s right, the most droolworthy car to roll out of Kia since, well, ever won’t advertise that it’s a Kia. In every other market, customers won’t have to guess what company built the vehicle. Stingers go on sale in Korea in May before arriving in the U.S. later this year.

Why the badge switcheroo? A company spokesperson, speaking with Yonhap News, implied that the automaker hoped to draw non-Korean buyers into the brand with a hot Kia-badged vehicle. At home, the company is apparently undecided on what engines to offer. The Stinger will, however, start at about 30 million won, which translates into just under $27,000 greenbacks.

Americans already know what Stingers they’ll see. The model, which shares its architecture with the upcoming Genesis G70, will bow with a 255-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic in base trim, with an optional twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 making 365 hp.

[Image: Kia Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Phila_DLJ Phila_DLJ on Mar 29, 2017

    "Check out my Stinger!" "Stinger? Who makes it?" "Oh, don't worry about that...c'mere and check it out!" "I don't understand why you're being so elusive about the make..." "I'm not being elusive! I just don't think it's germane to our discussion." "'Germane?' I ASKED YOU DIRECTLY 'WHO MAKES THIS?'" "Look, if you're going to get upset, I'll just have someone else check out my Stinger."

  • Fred Fred on Mar 29, 2017

    If you are buying this car for status then yea the Kia badges are bad. Otherwise you can remove the stick-on badges easy enough. People don't even know what my TSX is without badges. Even the dreaded beak is no clue. I could really mess with them by getting the Honda grill.

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.
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