GT isn't just a badge to Kia.
Being part of the same auto group, you might expect Hyundai and Kia to keep in regular contact to ensure they aren't stepping on each other's toes with new products.
The reality of the situation is more like a sibling rivalry with the Korean sister brands continually attempting to one-up each other with their own unique marketing strategies. It may sound counterintuitive from a business standpoint but this philosophy of internal competition has pushed both brands to build impressive and compelling new products with unique flavors.
Hyundai has defined itself as a mature, value-oriented brand with a youthful sporty side found in its N and N-Line portfolio while Kia leans towards a younger, more athletic clientele. Speaking with the company's Director of Corporate Communications, James Bell, CarBuzz wanted to catch up with Kia to see where it pictures itself within the Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) conglomerate and what direction we might expect the brand to head in with future models.
Being the enthusiasts we are, we were most curious about the company's range of sporty GT models, which most recently expanded with the introduction of the 201-horsepower 2020 Kia Forte GT. "It all goes back to the Stinger GT. It was a serious step compared to the base models and it really over-delivered what a GT promise should be," Bell began. "The way we are going to see GT used in Kia's lineup is to amplify the 'crazy little brother' that we get to be in the HMG family."
"We can be a little more unexpected. We can overdeliver on some things but still hit on that value positioning," Bell added while stressing that, "GT is not just a badge. It will not be a GT unless it has some serious chutzpah behind it."
We anticipate seeing this level of excitement from Kia's future GT models, like the upcoming K5 GT.
Even outside of the GT lineup, Kia has been given a lot of flexibility to experiment with future models. "I think we have the funnest sandbox within the HMG portfolio," Bell said. "The Kia brand is a little less defined but I think that is a huge advantage. We have very flexible boundaries where we can say 'this vehicle is unexpected but for Kia, it's ok.' I think it gives the HMG room to play a little more."
Kia will, obviously, pitch down the middle on some new product reveals including the upcoming North American debuts of the next-generation Optima and Sorento. But as we've seen from Kia concepts like the Imagine and HabaNiro, the company isn't afraid to throw some curveballs in there and we are excited to see what's in store.