Kia is planning a small-scale introduction of more upmarket models in Western Europe as a prelude to possibly making them fixtures in its range from 2016.
At the moment the Korean company’s largest offering in Europe is the Optima, a family saloon which is known as the K5 in its homeland.
But it has two larger cars in its range – the BMW 5 Series/Mercedes E-Class-sized K7, also sold as the Cadenza in some countries, and the luxurious, technology-laden K9, which is available as the Quoris in a few markets and soon to go on sale in America.
The Cadenza is the car Kia is contemplating putting on trial in Europe to see how it is received. “We would like to introduce 1,000 units to get feedback from customers,” says Soon-Nan Lee, the company’s vice-president for overseas marketing.
“In 2016 there will be the next Cadenza and this is the car we could bring to Europe. We are studying right-hand drive for Australia, the UK and South Africa and other markets.”
If the next Cadenza does come to Europe it could bring some of the state-of-the-art technology from the Quoris, says Lee. This includes active safety systems, a sophisticated head-up display unit, a multi-display TFT LCD instrument cluster and VIP rear seats with heating, cooling and electronic reclining.
One cautionary note, however, is that Kia’s brand awareness in Europe is not at the same level as it is in America. The new Cadenza would also have to offer diesel engines – not available in the current car – to stand any chance of success in Europe.