Kia is confident about the future of the sedan.
Over the past few years, crossovers have been overtaking sedan sales at an alarming pace. The Ford Fusion, Chevy Impala, and Buick LaCrosse are all gone, each replaced by hot-selling sedan-based crossovers. However, not all automakers have given up on sedans.
Speaking with James Bell, Kia's Director of Corporate Communications and Social Media, we asked about the brand's sedan future. "We're not backing off any sedan product for sure," he said. "The driving experience between the crossover-type vehicle and the sedan type vehicle especially when you have someone like Albert Biermann (head of Hyundai R&D and former BMW M chief engineer) in your stable can be pretty remarkable."
"One of the reasons why the Kia Telluride has done so well is because people love the look of it. And then they drive it and realize for a large crossover it feels very coordinated. Not overly athletic like a BMW X5 M. It's not that extreme. But you can enter a highway off-ramp a little faster than you should, and it's okay. The car can handle it. Having that athletic feel and visceral connection is something we're going to see emphasized and amplified in our future sedan offerings."
Kia believes it can make a better sedan thanks to what it has learned from crossovers like the Telluride. During our own recent experience with the Telluride, one of our editors noted he felt just fine sitting in the third-row, a place that normally induces a case of car sickness. The Telluride's stable and solid ride kept his lunch where it belonged.
Bell also emphasized that not everyone needs a crossover or SUV. "Many people in the sedan market are either downsizing from owning a big SUV that didn't give them that engaging drive they were looking for, or maybe their family has changed, or looking for better fuel efficiency. Today's modern sedans, especially with the Stinger's sloping C-pillar space, you're able to get a lot of cargo in there."
One very recent example of a potential new Kia sedan was the Imagine EV concept whose platform could "provide different interior layout and space-relations." In other words, a potential sleek all-electric sedan with a slightly raised ride height.
"There aren't many compromises other than not being one of the 'cool kids' with a new crossover on your street," Bell summed up. "But perhaps not being one of the 'cool kids' shows you are thinking through your purchase a little deeper and smart. That's where the future Kia sedan success is going to come from."