Kia Won’t Launch Performance Sub-Brand

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Instead, Kia wants to develop a small range of GT models with a focus on real-world performance.

This week, Hyundai expanded its N performance range with the i30 Fastback N. It makes you wonder if Kia will copy suit and launch its own performance sub-brand to complement Hyundai’s N range. According to a report by Autocar, Kia wants to make its cars ever sportier, more fun and more involving to drive following the success of the Stinger. However, in contrast to its sister company, these models won’t form part of a performance sub-brand like the Hyundai N series.

Instead, the automaker wants to develop a small range of GT models with a focus on real-world performance. In other words, they won’t be designed to set blistering lap times like Hyundai's N cars.

“For Kia, it is not the decision to enter with high-performance cars,” Hyundai-Kia high-performance development boss Albert Biermann told Autocar. “We did it with Hyundai N but there’s a clear decision not to with Kia, and GT needs to be a reasonable package. With the Ceed GT now, the minute you go high-performance, you need to work at a race track, and then the costs go up and the business case gets very challenging. Doing that next step is not an easy step.”

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The Stinger GT S has been widely praised for its stunning styling and sharp driving dynamics that rival the likes of more established players in the sports sedan field like BMW, Audi and Mercedes. However, Biermann said that the next-generation Optima GT is likely to take this to the next level without becoming a thoroughbred track car. “For the next Optima GT, you can expect an interesting powertrain and suspension at the next level. It’ll be the next level of Kia driving performance.”

More GT models could be rolled out in the future including a hotter version of the third-generation Soul, but Biermann confirmed there won’t be one in every model line-up. A higher-performance version of the Stinger GT S is not currently planned, despite the fact the platform is capable of handling more performance.

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