This could pave the way for a new Kia naming convention.
The Kia Optima started life in 2000 as a rebadged Hyundai Sonata with minor style and equipment changes. In Europe and Canada, it was known as the Magentis. The second generation was then called the Kia Magentis everywhere except Malaysia, the US, and South Korea. In South Korea, it was the Kia Lotze, but for the third generation in the Chinese, Malaysia, and South Korean markets, it was called the Kia K5.
The K5 nameplate has lived on over the world, but now The Korean Car Blog is reporting that Kia is planning on dropping the Optima name completely.
According to sources within Kia, the Optima will become known as the K5 globally, including the US becoming yet another alpha-numeric name to remember in a sea of alpha-numeric names. While we feel that a name gives a car some personality it makes sense for companies to use a letter and number as a model identifier. It means not accidentally having a word that means something rude or weird in a foreign language, and that the automaker can keep the name consistent for a global car.
The fifth-generation K5 has just gone on sale in South Korea complete with new, more upmarket, styling. It gets an evolution of its pinched 'Tiger Nose' grille, and heavily stylized long "heartbeat" shaped running lights. It's also longer and wider than the current generation we have here in the US. We're in our fourth year of the Optima, and it doesn't look like we'll get the new generation until 2021. At this point, the sooner the new one gets here, the better for Kia as the sleeker new look will help the car better stand out in the mid-sized sedan segment.