Kia’s Frankfurt Auto Show star is this rear-drive sports saloon. The currently unnamed model will be the first in a series of new concepts that Kia will use to explore new market segments and prove its capabilities of building style-led models above its current range of traditional hatchbacks, saloons and crossovers.
Official details of the four-door concept are scarce, but Autocar understands it be based on sister firm Hyundai’s Genesis saloon, with a powerful V8 petrol engine featuring under the bonnet.
The concept, believed to have been designed in Kia’s Frankfurt design studio, provides a striking message about Kia’s future expansion plans and will provide the blueprint for the firm’s new design direction under chief designer Peter Schreyer.
“I believe this car is a strong statement from Kia,” says Schreyer, formerly of Audi. “We are ready to fast forward to an all new chapter.”
The muscular concept, still partially hidden from some angles in these early teaser pictures, features a bold, purposeful front-end with Kia’s new familiar ‘Schreyer grille’. It gets a gently sloping roofline, heavily sculpted sides and a sleek design for the rear lights.
Schreyer believes his concept is “roaring with energy and ready for take-off” from all perspectives. The interior, which is barely visible in the pictures, is said by Kia to be “a sophisticated and elegant four-seat cockpit”.
The Korean firm insists the concept is more a statement of intent rather than a preview of a new model in a German-dominated market segment never before occupied by Kia. The saloon concept will be followed up by a drop-top version of the Soul aimed at the US market and a small front-drive roadster, based on Cee’d mechanicals. These concepts are expected to be launched at the Detroit and Geneva 2012 motor shows respectively.
“We have made good progress recently,” Kia’s vice chairman and CEO, Hank Lee, told last month. “But it is now important for us to improve our brand power. Concepts like these will help a lot with that. But we are prepared to take our time. We will test plenty of ideas before we make any decisions about production.”