We sat down with Kia's European marketing chief and talked sexy shooting brakes. Hint: he's a fan.
It may be hard to tell under its sleek body, but there's a good chance the Kia Proceed concept is built on the Korean automaker's RWD platform, the very same one that underpins the new Stinger GT sport sedan. There's a reason why Kia could have further utilized this platform for its latest concept: determine public interest in a potential production version. We figured as much when we sat down with Kia's European Marketing Chief, Artur Martins, at Frankfurt, and asked him straight up whether a shooting brake is a serious contender for production.
"First of all, we will be eliminating the three-door body type for the Cee'd (family) because it only accounts for three to four percent of the European market," Martin's said. "But that leaves the option open for a new body type, and the Proceed concept is one of the options we're looking at." Basically, Kia is exploring how it can further development not only its platforms, but it's also interested in seeing if there's a future b segment waiting to be uncovered. "Only premium brands have had shooting brakes in the past," Martins added. "From a concept perspective it looks very nice. It's very sexy. It could also be a way to bring more emotion to the segment."
Kia has well-established itself as one of the global leaders in crossovers, being one of the first to recognize the trend. And because of that forward thinking and the success it's brought, this mentality is once again at work. "The thing is, people who bought crossovers and SUVs ten years ago because it was new and no one had it, those guys are starting to look at the market and say 'Everyone has a crossover or SUV, so what's next?' This (a five-door shooting brake) could be a good alternative for what we call 'early adapters' to new trends." Something else to bear in mind is that Kia wants to be more premium, not just in quality but also perception. Who else currently has a five-door shooting brake on sale right now?
Porsche, with the Panamera Sport Turismo. While a Panamera may financially be out of reach for mainstream consumers, a production-spec, RWD Proceed with the Stinger's 365-hp 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 would likely base at around $45,000. "For the time being it's a design exercise," Martins said. "It's one of three body types we're evaluating right now for production, so it's possible this will move beyond the concept stage. We need to feel the pulse of the public as to whether this is something they want."