Should anyone be surprised?
We weren't alone in our surprise to see the Kia K900 come to the US for the 2019 model year. The large sedan is aimed at premium car shoppers looking to score a feature-rich, value-packed luxury vehicle. Or rather it was. The K900, as well as the Kia Cadenza, are both being discontinued for the 2021 model year, as confirmed by Car and Driver. Sales for both have been pretty terrible.
A total of just 1,265 Cadenzas and 305 K900s were sold last year. Although both are classified as full-size sedans, the main difference was that the Cadenza rides on a front-wheel-drive platform while the K900 shares its underpinnings with the RWD Genesis G80. In some ways, the K900 was an internal G80 rival.
Kia even admitted to us back in 2018 during the media drive event in South Korea that bringing the K900 to the US was sort of an experiment. "Let's try and see what happens" was the thinking. The Cadenza, meanwhile, faced off against the Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon. This FWD full-size sedan segment continues to shrink as the Chevy Impala, Ford Taurus, and the Cadenza's own corporate cousin, the Hyundai Azera, have already ceased production. Buick and Cadillac, two brands long associated with premium sedans, previously dropped the LaCrosse and XTS, respectively.
Kia further acknowledged declining sedan demand as it continues a "realignment" from fewer sedans to more crossovers. This does not mean Kia is abandoning sedans completely, however.
In fact, it just unveiled the stunning new midsize K5, which replaces the Optima. The subcompact Rio sedan and hatchback also continue to be strong sellers, as does the compact Forte. The Stinger continues to hold its own with 12,556 examples sold in 2020, down from 13,884 in 2019. However, the Stinger is aimed at a very different type of buyer than any of Kia's other sedans, including the Cadenza and K900. In fact, the Stinger and K900 share a RWD platform.
For now, the Stinger's future is secure. But anyone still in the market for a new Cadenza and/or K900 should move fast because once the current inventory is gone it won't be replenished.