Where are the bean counters when you actually need them?
A recent interview between Wards Auto and Kia Motors America’s vice president of product planning, Orth Hedrick, has gleaned quite a strange collection of information about the struggling Korean automaker’s future lineup. SUVs are a given, as was made clear by the Interview’s focus on a production version of the Telluride Concept, but the last two sentences of the article contained interesting information on the K900 sedan, a luxury car that’s struggled to sell if the word “struggled” is used kindly.
Wards claims, “Kia also is planning announcements soon on a 5-door version of the Forte (it debuted the sedan version of the compact car last week at the Detroit auto show) and a next-generation of its K900 luxury sedan. Hedrick hints the latter will be shown at the New York auto show in late March.” So why is that so strange? Because the very prospect of a second generation K900 would send bean counters at any other automaker into protest. Last year, Kia sold only 455 K900s in the United States, not even close to enough cars to justify investing in a redesign. The K900 has only been out since 2014 and sold 1,330 units in its first year. Sales peaked only a year later when Kia moved 2,524 K900s.
Those numbers are still about 1,000 cars short compared to what a manufacturer of ultra-rare cars like Lamborghini sold last year. Unlike a Lamborghini, Kia had to slash prices on the K900 in 2015 to scrape away barriers to entry, but the sales peak it experienced that year did not continue into 2016 or 2017. And if you think US sales are bad, none of those numbers come close to how dismal sales are in Canada. Last year, Kia only found 7 customers who saw the K900 as the best car for their Tim Hortons trips. Without bashing the car further since we did happen to love it when Kia sent us one, it's at least fair to say that Kia’s decision to bring the K900 back for another round is a head scratcher.