US: Kia moves upmarket with new and expensive K900 image

The South Korean brand, alongside corporate sibling Hyundai has long been gaining market share through reasonably priced and well equipped cars, and so was stamped with a low-priced brand image.

Without such worries though in the South Korean market, Kia moves to change the established image with its new flagship for the US market – the $66,000 luxury K900 sedan.

While sales for the sedan just launched, Kia worked on attracting customer interest, seeking to “challenge the luxury you know” through a very clever and spectacular ad for the February Super Bowl. In a marketing comeback, Laurence Fishburne reprised his popular role from the “Matrix” trilogy on the behalf of the K900.

“What we hope this will do is send a signal to consumers that we are a different brand from what they thought we were a few years ago,” said Michael Sprague, Kia’s U.S. executive vice president for sales and marketing.

So far, without the K900, Kia’s most pricey model is the $36,000 Cadenza sedan – with the new model jumping rather high to position itself in between the coveted BMW 5 Series (which starts at around $50,000) and the flagship 7 Series, that fetches prices in excess of $75,000.

“It’s a good luxury car,” sais Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for industry consultant Kelley Blue Book, but at K900’s price, “people are buying as much for the prestige of the brand as they are for the actual hardware, and I think that’s where Kia will have some difficulty versus Mercedes-Benz or BMW or Audi.”

Kia is not yet saying if the new car is a win or a flop, as it was only available so far since March, it hasn’t been fully introduced throughout the US and it sold in two months 365 units.

Via Reuters