As always, numbers don't lie.
Almost two years ago at the Detroit Auto Show we proclaimed that the then all-new Kia Stinger was the undisputed star of the show. It upstaged literally everything the Detroit automakers brought that year, which admittedly wasn't particularly exciting. But who would have ever thought that Kia was capable and willing to produce something like the Stinger and Stinger GT fastback sedans? Needless to say, there was a lot of hype surrounding the new car.
Now that we have several months of sales numbers, we figured it was a good time to check to see whether the Stinger has taken a bite, so to speak, out of the competition. Speaking of which, what is the competition? There are several choices, but we went big, meaning the premium luxury brands.
Specifically, we compared Kia Stinger sales results to those of the following: BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, Audi A4/S4 and A5/S5 Sportback, Jaguar XE, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It should be noted that neither Audi nor Mercedes-Benz provided specific sales breakdowns for the aforementioned models. Instead, they were clumped together with the entire A5 and C-Class range, respectively.
For example, we don't have a precise sales breakdown for what we see as the Stinger's most direct C-Class variant rival, the AMG C43. So far this year, specifically through July (via carsalesbase.com), a total of 10,144 Kia Stingers have been sold in the US. To compare, BMW sold a total of 18,331 4 Series Gran Coupes in that same period. Audi sold 21,575 A4s and S4s, 15,973 A5s and S5s, while Jaguar sold 2,663 XEs, and Mercedes shifted 33,500 C-Class models.
Unfortunately, because a direct Stinger vs say, Audi S5 Sportback sales comparison isn't available, it's hard to get a fully accurate picture of how – or if – the Kia has been the segment disruptor some tipped it to become. However, based on the fact over 10,000 Stingers have been sold so far this year (its first full model year) and less than 3,000 Jaguar XEs have left dealership lots, is already a very good sign. It would also be unfair to compare the Kia Stinger to, for example, the Honda Accord, which has sold, on average, over 20,000 units a month so far this year.
The two sedans cater to different types of buyers. But considering the Stinger and Stinger GT are performance-focused, have an unusual fastback body style, and, above all, wear a Kia badge, the Korean carmaker has a lot to be proud of. It wasn't too long ago Kia was seen as purely a bargain brand for non-car lovers. Kiss those days goodbye.
We also reached out to James Bell, Kia America's Director of Corporate Communications, regarding Stinger sales and were told that "Expectations are high and we are doing a great job of collecting all-new customers for the Kia brand, especially off BMW, Audi, Lexus, and trade-ins. As you know, the sedan market is not nearly as hot as the CUV/SUV (market) but the Stinger is providing the 'vehicle of change' for the brand just as intended."
Last November, Kia told us it had received around 50,000 queries for the Stinger, and by February that figured increased to 100,000. Unfortunately, we don't have any way of knowing precisely how many of those queries resulted in sales. Nevertheless, the Kia Stinger is more than holding its own in the market and remains the go-to choice for those seeking a true sports sedan you can get for around $50,000 all-in.