Kia is reportedly planning on launching its first rear-wheel-drive model in the mid-sized sedan market sometime in 2017.
The new offering, dubbed a 'sports sedan' by business paper Reuters, is expected to be built in South Korea, after American-market production of the light Rio is moved to the company's new Mexico plant next year.
The report claims that Kia is planning to build around 60,000 units annually of the new model - which, unusually, has yet to be spied on the road.
Above: the 2015 Kia Novo concept
Very little is known about the new offering from Kia, reportedly codenamed the CK, however it is expected to utilise the same platform as the upcoming new mid-sized Genesis G70.
Reuters reports that three engine options will be on offer for the new sedan: a pair of 2.0-litre and 2.2-litre four-cylinder units, and a 3.0-litre V6.
Above: the 2011 Kia GT concept
The report also claims that, like the larger premium-focused K9, the new Kia model would be offered as a more affordable and feature-packed alternative to established up-market sports sedans like the Audi A5 Sportback and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, as sporty alternatives.
Kia has made no secret of its desire for a new sedan even more focused on a sports and lifestyle position than the turbocharged front-wheel-drive Optima GT: in 2011, the car maker revealed the big GT four-door coupe concept, and last year it revealed the smaller Novo sedan concept.
If Kia is indeed planning a new sports sedan, the newer Novo would likely inform its styling. And, if a 2017 debut is on the cards, we can expect to see camouflaged prototypes on the road very soon.