We knew this day would come.
This isn't the first time we've heard a rumor regarding the end of the Kia Stinger. Bear in mind the fastback sports sedan arrived back in 2017 for the 2018 model year and received an update last year. It's not exactly brand new anymore though it remains competitive. That alone isn't likely to save it.
According to The Korean Car Blog, Kia has reportedly decided to end Stinger production by the second quarter of next year. A previous rumor claimed the Stinger would survive until 2024 but plans may have since changed. The key reason for the Stinger's earlier-than-planned demise is slow sales. Also, Kia wants to use the Stinger assembly line at its Sohari plant in South Korea to build more electrified models, including the upcoming Carnival Hybrid minivan.
The rear-wheel-drive Stinger does not offer a hybrid version. Instead, there's the base 2.5-liter turbo-four with 300 horsepower and the optional 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 with 365 hp. All-wheel drive is also an option. Stingers are also built in Russia and Kazakhstan but it seems unlikely they'd be exported to the US if the Sohari plant rumor proves accurate. Why not? A quick examination of the sales figures explains all.
In 2019, just 13,884 examples were sold in the US. This dropped to 12,556 in 2020. The ongoing semiconductor chip shortage crisis isn't helping matters in 2021. The Stinger is also the slowest-selling Kia model in the US and Europe.
Despite this, the model has done an excellent job as an image builder for the brand. Prior to the Stinger, Kia was known mainly for its lineup of reliable and fuel-efficient vehicles with little to no focus on performance. The Stinger proved Kia had many tricks up its sleeve. We've reached out to Kia seeking comment and we'll update this story if we receive a relevant response.
It's also important to point out the Stinger nameplate could continue once the sedan is dropped. A coupe version of the all-electric Kia EV6 bearing the Stinger name is something we'd very much like to see happen, even if it were to be built in limited numbers.