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by Tim Beissmann

Kia designer Peter Schreyer’s dream of creating a roadster has seemingly been dashed, with a leading company executive ruling out a convertible for the foreseeable future.

Kia overseas marketing chief Lee Soon-nam told Automotive News the South Korean car maker needed to focus on strengthening its image and brand awareness before toying with niche models.

“The volume will be smaller and then we can’t enhance the brand image fully,” Lee said.

“We would like to build our brand image to some level. Then we can maximise the effects of the new car launch.”

Kia-GT4-Stinger-Concept-rear

In January, Kia chief design officer and president Schreyer told CarAdvice the Kia GT4 Stinger coupe concept shown at the Detroit auto show was designed with a roadster version in mind, and spoke positively about the potential of a drop-top model.

“We wanted to make a little sports car, so now finally we are allowed to try one out and I think that something like this would have potential as a product and it would suit very well to our product range and make the product range a bit more spicy and give it more character. I could even imagine a little roadster,” Schreyer said.

He has previously stated that Kia’s image among younger buyers would benefit from a sports model along the lines of the Mazda MX-5 and Audi TT.

But Lee says at this stage any sports car dreams will have to be secondary to higher-volume models with the potential to generate higher profits, believing Kia’s global brand recognition is not strong enough to support a roadster.

“From a marketing point of view, a new car launch should be helpful to enhancing the brand image,” he said.

“Even though we are doing very well in the global market, many customers do not know Kia yet.”




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