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Rumors: Kia Planning Large V-8 Sedan

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On: Thu, May 5, 2011 at 4:30PM | By: Tim Healey

Rumors: Kia Planning Large V-8 Sedan

Now that Hyundai has the Genesis luxury sedan, complete with available V-8, could subsidiary Kia be planning to follow with a large V-8 luxury sedan of its own?

For its part, Kia will neither confirm or deny such a project, saying only that a rear-wheel drive premium sedan could be interpreted as a logical next step following the redesign of the brand's Optima mid-size sedan this year.

We'd say that makes sense, given that Kia could draw on Hyundai's expertise with the Genesis sedan.

First of all, Kia could save money and time by sharing a platform with the Hyundai Genesis sedan and the even more luxurious Hyundai Equus. Kia could also use Hyundai's V-6 and V-8 engines.

There, are, of course, pitfalls. American consumers who have long thought of Kia as a value brand might not bite (Hyundai has faced the same obstacles with its luxury cars) and Kia would also need to make sure that the styling was attractive enough to lure buyers away from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Lexus. Kia will also need to prove that its cars can be reliable.

Kia tried the luxury game once before with the Amanti, which left the market in 2009. That car was value-priced, and never really did resonate with buyers in the entry-luxury market.

Kia will need a better effort this time around, should such a project see the light of day. The good news for the automaker is that most of its latest products have been well reviewed by the automotive press, and thanks a strong marketing campaign, the company has a better image than it did previously.

Still, selling new luxury when so many traditional models abound isn't easy. Kia will need to offer the same features and technology at lower prices than the more established players. It will need to offer a good marketing plan, designed to lure buyers away from the traditional makes while also grabbing the attention of consumers new to the market. And it will need to be different from Hyundai's offerings.

That sounds like a tall order, but based on recent history, it seems like Kia might be able to fill it.

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