The Korean company is bringing the Kia Cerato Koup turbo as well as the hotly anticipated Kia Pro_cee’d GT to revitalise the brand’s credentials and further change the company’s persona from a typical car company to one which also provides performance derivatives.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new Kia Cerato Hatch on the Gold Coast last week, Kia Australia’s chief operating officer, Tony Barlow, said the two performance cars should have a positive affect on Kia’s perceived personality.
“We are expecting the brand to broaden its appeal in the marketplace, there are a lot of people that are very much aspiring to that type of car in the market, we believe the Kia brand is a young and challenger brand so we will be enticing a lot more people than we have been to experience that car.” Barlow said.
The first to arrive will be the Korean made Kia Cerato Koup, a three-door front-wheel drive coupe which is expected to launch in late October. This will be available with either a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine (150kW of power at 6000rpm, and 264Nm of torque from 1750-4500rpm) or a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre.
Following that will be the Slovakia made Kia Pro_cee’d GT, a ‘warm-hatch’ which utilizes the same turbocharged engine found in the Koup and Hyundai’s Veloster Turbo.
Asked if Kia anticipates challenging the likes of Toyota’s very popular Toyota 86 sports car, Barlow said Kia will certainly make sure that everybody knows of its performance intentions.
“People will certainly have a look at it [against the Toyota 86], we will certainly market it in such a way that will let everybody know that we are in that part of market now.”
Barlow doesn’t believe that going from having no performance cars to two performance cars in a little over six months will confuse the market.
“The three door hatch out of Europe will attract a different buyer than the koup will, [they are] two different sets of buyers. Body type will be important.”
The arrival of Kia’s first performance vehicles is likely an indication that the Korean company will strive to produce more performance-orientated models in the future, with the long rumoured Kia GT now more likely than ever a chance for production.