The Korean brand is keen to bring Peter Schreyer’s vision of the GT Concept sports car to life as it seeks to take its brand image up the food chain by the second half of this decade.
Speaking to CarAdvice at Kia headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Kia’s vice president of overseas marketing, Soon-Nam Lee, acknowledged the company’s research and development division has been given the development task already.
“[On the] marketing side we’ve requested to develop the GT concept to our R&D [division]; we are discussing at this moment.” Lee said.
Perhaps the biggest reason for Kia’s need of a GT-like sports car is to better take on the American market, which – much like Australia – is yet to associate Kia with the idea of performance or luxury.
“For the 2018 Kia Vision, we need to consolidate our luxury image in the USA market. The GT concept will be very important role for the Kia vision.”
The issue, however, comes down to Kia currently not having the required drivetrain to make the its Grand Tourer a reality.
“To achieve and realise the GT we need a more powerful engine so we are discussing with R&D side,” said Lee.
Meanwhile the company is hailing the launch of the Pro_Cee’d GT a success, following not only its sales performance but also its brand-building capability.
“[Its] sales target is already achieved; we do not expect the volumes like 208 and Golf GTI, however we enjoyed a very wonderful PR (public relations) performance,” said Lee.
He admitted the Pro_Cee’d had done its job by changing the public perception of the Kia brand.
“It raises the Kia brand, from being an economical and practical brand to a more dynamic, more young [brand]. So we can change our brand image so Pro_Cee'd GT is a wonderful weapon to raise the brand image.”
Like Australia, other Kia markets are keen for additional GT variants of cars such as the Rio, but there are no official plans as of yet.
“Not concrete, however after learning the success from Pro_cee’d GT, I have already requested [additional models]. We have learnt a lot from the GT, so we can extend it to the Rio.”
Kia Australia has so far sold 325 Pro_Cee’d GTs in 2014.