Kia is looking to expand into other market segments and has plans to release a number of sporty cars, including one based on the Kia GT Concept unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show last week.
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According to Kia Europe boss, Paul Philpott, Kia is looking to develop more products and shake its 'budget brand' reputation. The first of such cars which could help attract an all-new appreciation for the brand is a Kia Cee'd 'GTI' hot hatch. Philpott said in an Autocar report,

"The first step is to have the kind of mainstream cars that can compete with the likes of Ford and Citroën in all sectors of the market. Once we are satisfied that they are all credible, then we will look at extensions beyond that."We will develop sporting variants of more models starting with the new Cee'd. We want Kia to be known for sport and design."

It's unknown at this stage what kind of specifications these models will run, but they could spawn a movement into motorsport.

On top of a range of new mainstream models, Kia is also planning to develop a rear-wheel drive sports car which is set to be based on the Kia GT Concept. Philpott said,

"Almost everyone has accepted the GT as being the right kind of car for Kia, and that says we’re ready to stretch the brand further. If we can get the same reaction globally as we did in Frankfurt then the GT can play a key role in moving the whole brand forward."A halo car like a Kia GT gives the brand greater sporting credentials. It would position the whole range as sporting, not just one model."

The sporty new direction for Kia is expected to start with the arrival of the new Kia Cee'd which is scheduled for a launch some time in 2012.

What do you think about Kia turning sporty? Could it be a successful new direction? Would you buy a Kia sports car?