Did The Kia Stinger Lose Its Bite In 2018?


The final sales numbers are in.

Last August we did an analysis of the Kia Stinger's sales to date and determined that despite heavy competition from the mid-size sedan segment and, above all, crossovers, Kia's fastback sedan was more than staying afloat. Now that 2018 has come to an end, we figured it was time again to analyze sales of this "'vehicle of change" for the brand. Kia just announced that a total of 16,806 Stingers were sold in 2018. The year prior, just 843 were sold but that was because it didn't even go on sale until November.

In other words, 2018 was the Stinger's first full model year. Compared to some of its direct competitors, namely the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, Audi A4/S4 and A5/S5 Sportback, Jaguar XE, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Stinger sold remarkably well. Because BMW groups all 4 Series variants together (coupe, convertible and Gran Coupe), we don't have a specific number for the latter.

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However, a total of 31,379 4 Series variants were sold in 2018, slightly down from the year prior. That same variant clumping also applies to the Audi A4/S4 (34,311) and A5/S5 variants, including the Sportback (25,972). Again, it's hard to precisely pinpoint how the Kia Stinger directly scored against its fastback rivals, but considering it's a standalone model, it appears the Stinger is holding its own. The Mercedes C-Class variants sold a total of 60,410 units, but there is no fastback body style available. We're still waiting for Jaguar to release the final tally for 2018 XE sales, but we expect to see a considerable drop from last year's total of 9,278.

As we also noted last August, it's difficult to ascertain whether the Stinger has become the segment disruptor Kia wants it to be, but when pitted against more mainstream mid-size sedans, like the Honda Accord, the Stinger is clearly outgunned.

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Honda shifted a total of 291,071 Accords in 2018, a decrease from 322,655 in 2017. And to put into greater perspective just how wildly popular crossovers have become, a grand total of 107,846 Kia Sorentos sold last year – nearly 6.5 times greater than the Stinger. Fortunately, the Kia Stinger is not the typical three-box design and conservative sedan. It's really a poor man's Porsche Panamera with up to 365 hp in GT spec, and it can be yours brand spanking new for about $50,000 all-in. "We are very pleased with the overall impact on the Kia brand and the new customers that the Stinger has brought into our showrooms," James Bell, director of Kia corporate communications for North America, told us in an email. "Previously rarely seen luxury brands are now often being used as trade-ins, and the percentage of delivered high-spec GT V6 models has definitely exceeded expectations."

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