Kia has detailed its plans to roll out the flagship luxury Kia K900 sedan in the US in 2014.
The range-topping model is expected to wear a price tag of between US$50,000 and US$70,000 ($54,000-$75,000), making it the most expensive nameplate ever sold by the South Korean car maker in North America.
It will also be the first rear-wheel-drive Kia sedan to be offered stateside.
Kia will draw on the immense audience engagement of next year’s Super Bowl as its launch campaign locomotive, less than a year after the debut of the brand’s previous flagship, the Cadenza, which arrived in showrooms in April.
The K900, which is already sold in South Korea as the K9 and the Quoris in other international markets, shares its platform with Hyundai’s luxury flagship, the Equus, which is marketed as a BMW 5 Series/ Mercedes-Benz E-Class competitor.
Like the Equus, the Kia K900 is equipped with the same direct injection V8 petrol engine producing 320kW and 510Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Key features include adaptive HID headlamps, power-folding heated auto-dimming door mirrors, forward-view cornering camera, rear-view camera with multi-view camera system, power boot lid and power door closure, premium leather upholstery with microfibre suede headliner and heated and cooled electric front and rear seats.
Also standard for the K900 is a rear-seat entertainment system with 9.2-inch screens, 17-speaker audio system, satellite navigation with 9.2-inch screen and 12-inch TFT instrument cluster.
Hyundai entered the premium market in the US with the Genesis sedan in 2008 before introducing the upscale Equus late in 2010.
While sales of the luxury sedan are down 19 per cent this year, the first year’s target of 2000-3000 units was easily topped in 2011 and grew to around 4000 sales in 2012.
Kia hopes to fast-track that process, encouraged by strong results from its mid-size Optima and, more recently, the Cadenza, with range-topping models priced as high as US$40,000 ($43,000).
Kia expects to sell about 5000 units in 2014, which although low-volume for the brand, is still more than Equus’ initial targets.