But it's too early to call the project a win for Kia globally, with pressure on the US to sell the car in big numbers
Every single Kia Stinger GT that arrives is immediately sold, giving the company the best kind of problem with its performance halo -- supply.
The company has sold about 2000 units in around a year since the big rear-drive liftback sedan arrived, and it has clearly changed how people see its brand.
A bonafide muscle car is worth its weight in gold, meaning the 272kW twin turbocharged V6 GT version is the one doing the heavy lifting, compared to the more modest turbo-four.
“We sold 130 Stingers this month, I’d say 129 were the V6,” Kia Australia’s communications manager Kevin Hepworth said this week.
“Every single V6 that hits the ground is sold. Be that supply to police or private purchasers,” he added. While supply levels are tolerable, demand is outstripping available stock in many areas.
This isn’t a huge surprise given the continued level of interest in the car from you guys reading and watching CarAdvice.
Both South Australia and the Northern Territory are believed to be considering making the same decision as we speak.
“As soon as we announced Queensland, it went almost viral, in the US, on the police blogs,” Hepworth added, saying the company Korean headquarters was also beyond excited to see the Stingers decked out in sirens and stickers.
Interestingly, we had a chat with Kia Europe’s head designer Gregory Guillaume at the Paris motor show this week, and he turned the tables conspiratorially to ask us a question.
“Is it true you have Stinger police cars there? That’s so cool…” he said.
“As an aspirational point of view, definitely [the Stinger has been a success],” he said more formally.
“For the first time in Paris I was in a Stinger in traffic and it was when all of the kids come out from school and they were all staring saying, ‘Look, a Kia!’ This is all brand building...
“I think it was the best thing Kia could do to build the Stinger. I pushed the whole thing along from day one, but it was definitely the right thing to do.”
However, Australian police sales and excited kids in Paris aren’t the sole determiners of what makes a car successful, and Guillaume said it was to early to call the project a success. We’re a small market after all.
“Whether there will be a replacement is too early to say,” he said.
“We are in a company that even if they do understand the potential of the value of this brand building object, we still have to be economically successful with that vehicle.
“We never planned to do it in Europe and with a car like that it is very difficult, but there are other parts of the world where it can work, we believe.
“We launched the car last year, so we have to give it a bit of time, but the intention is America for example. They need to sell the car, they need to do volume with that car.
“Marketing guys in Europe understand that and still put a lot of money into communicating that car but are not hoping to have such an enormous return on that product, but for the brand, it was the best thing that could happen.”