Kia K900 Sales Not Working in the United States

by Nov 17, 2014All News, Kia15 comments

When Kia launched K900 flagship luxury sedan at the Detroit Auto Show in January, Kia’s Vice President Lee Hyoung-keun said great hopes for the car into the U.S-market.

[ads id=”0″ style=”float:left;padding:9px;”]Unfortunately, since its was released in March the car sales has been struggling. During the first four months on the market, only 200 Kia K900s per month were sold.

In July and August, sales dropped further to 100 to 130 a month before plummeting to 50 to 60 in September and October. The sluggish sales are partly due to weak brand image compared to it rivals in the U.S. market such as Mercedes-Benz’s S Class, Audi’s A8, BMW’s 7 series, and the Jaguar XJ.

The K900 is luxurious enough, well equipped and high-ended sedan but it lacks the clout to impress rich customers. Now Kia tried to turn the tables by hiring NBA star LeBron James to promote the sedan.

Alongside, recently Kia launched in the domestic market a new version of the K9 with the same 5.0-liter V8 engine used in US-spec model, and also tried to updated the flaghsip to achieve a more identifying design

Written by loubeat

Passionated about Korean cars from Hyundai, Kia & Genesis. Photographer. I love being in nature, hiking. Tech lover.


  1. Osvaldo Doldán

    Mucho más barato inlcusive que todos sus rivales directos y hermano Hyundai.

  2. bd

    No Genesis sedan equivalent to set the plate (at least not yet), no AWD (until next generation) and no V6 model yet (don’t know what the hold-up is on that one).

    • Mobis21

      The hold up on the AWD for the 8 cyl Genesis, if I recall correctly, has to do with the increased weight and synchronizing the transmission gearing to work with the AWD system. If they can resolve those challenges without compromising the cars excellent ride and handling , maybe we might see an 8cyl AWD model by Spring of ’15.

  3. J.R.

    hmmm… when will Hyundai/KIA learn that K900 is not selling NOT because of “weak brand image”?

    The problem with the K900 is the DESIGN. Poor interior design with last generation info graphics for digital displays, E.T. face steering wheel, BMW style gear stick, seats that any European with high interior design sense would laugh at, gaudy mirror turn signals & side vents, outer surfacing of sheet metal & gaudy chrome bits attachments which which look unrefined & with no sense of subtle beauty in the way they come together with metal to express luxury, etc……………….. there is simply no subtle & refined ‘luxury’ in the design of the K900.

    Toyota did not have the brand image too when they introduced the first LEXUS.

    BUT the LEXUS flagship which they introduced simply looked better & more luxurious than the competition when it came out.

    Thus, my point is, IF you have a successful design, then you don’t have to make stupid & ignorant excuse such as …’it failed because of weak Brand Image’ or because of ‘Price’.

    Grow up Hyundai/KIA. No wonder you guys failed.

    • J


  4. Mobis21

    There are specific immutable laws of branding and marketing that only allows just so many brands to swim in the ether of luxury. Kia is failing because they are trying to go against the current in an attempt to redefine their brand to a market that already accepts them as an “economy” priced non-luxury brand. Based on their efforts so far, I don’t believe Kia will find much success.

    By introducing this car, they ignored the basic principles of the luxury market-ladder hierarchy. If you want to swim with the big fish, for the potential luxury buyer, the K900 has to deliver something extraordinary that can’t be obtained from any of the other premium luxury marquees. And other than price, what is so extraordinary about Kia’s K900? Price? Aside from the name, which is spectacularly forgettable, the car is virtually invisible.

    Kia’s circular marketing strategy is doomed to fail based on an arrogant and stupefying under estimation of branding and the luxury market space. To solve this problem Kia needs to craft a unique meme or specific brand message for the car and create a brand-within-a-brand since regrettably, they don’t plan on launching a separate luxury brand channel. They will have to offer something like, life time valet service, including routine or limited maintenance or some type of white glove service that is currently not provided by the well established premium players.

    Otherwise, because of the perceived weakness of the brand, failure is quite certain.

    • J.R.

      Non luxury brands have become luxury brands without changing their logo & name. If you look into the history of Industrial/product design including automotive design there are many examples. Go look them up. There is more than one way to success.
      KIA chose to start from a premise of keeping their logo & name. Nothing wrong with that because this strategy CAN work if done properly. So you are wrong about your talk about naive marketing skills by KIA.

      There was no “arrogant and stupefying underestimation of branding and of the luxury market” by KIA.
      They know much more about marketing than you will ever know.
      Problem is they are not yet familiar with the success formula related to ‘design’. That is why they brought over Peter. Things are changing but very slowly.

      They will learn from this mistake.

      • Mobis21

        If Kia’s marketing of the K900 is working so well(?) then explain why this car is not selling?

        • J.R.

          Obviously, you have no idea that there are other FACTORS besides ‘marketing’ that determines success. Also, you have no idea that there are different ‘marketing’ strategies that can be used as valid premise to arrive at later success by combining them with these other FACTORS. You have displayed your ignorance here enough & showed that you have not undestood a single thing that I have said in the above in criticism of your naive writing. Amusing.

          There are ‘countless brands’ that became luxury brands without changing their brand/name & by challenging the established heirarchy. KIA is doing the same & there is nothing wrong with that strategy. If you are not familiar what those ‘countless brands’ are then please go educate yourself further. The ‘Lexus example’ was only used in the above to put across the idea of the importance of ‘proper design’ as an important contributing FACTOR to success,…so you are being completely irrelevant by bringing that up to criticise me. Next time please learn to read other people’s comments properly & correctly before nonsensically rambling on.

          As I have said already, there was no “arrogant and stupefying underestimation of branding and of the luxury market” by KIA. KIA knows what they are doing & knows more about marketing than you will ever know in your whole life.You are wrong & ignorant in every way.

          • Mobis21

            Wow! Such flatulence and insolence based on a question that I asked you was to explain why Kia’s luxury car, the K900, is failing to make any headway in the premium U.S. car market. I will excuse you if you don’t know the answer because aside from attacking and vilifying me, you failed to answer the question. However, had you read my “ramblings” you would have seen my recommendations (not that you or Kia would care) of how Kia could possibly turn things around for this failing product.

            I’m not looking for a fight but your overreaction to my post suggest to me that you are either employed by Kia or have deep connections to the brand that are clouding your mind and preventing you from looking at this problem in a rational and objective framework. Failure is failure and no matter how one spins it, it is still failure no matter how many words you use to arrive at ridiculous conclusions that make you want to justify it. It’s just too bad that you decided to make this about me and not about Kia’s short sighted approach to marketing this unfortunate car.

          • J.R.

            What an amusing boy you are, full of rambling nonsense, dishonesty, ignorance, & arrogance. Amusing indeed.

            The record of comments on this board proves that I have already clearly stated & explained what KIA’s core problem was, …so you seem to be very confused & lost here all alone, …rambling on nonsensically like a person with a mental problem.

            Also, I have made it clear in my writings WHY you were WRONG in your ignorant & naive statements regarding ‘marketing’ …and explained to you WHY there was no “arrogant and stupefying underestimation of branding and of the luxury market” by KIA.

            So the fact that you were wrong & ignorant still remains unchanged, & is presented here for all to see & understand.

            Also, your arrogance, ignorance, & even dishonesty have all been exposed & explained in my previous comments all very clearly. Please go back & have a look if you have missed them.

            And yes, you must be 100% correct that I must be a some kind of a shill paid by KIA who is desperately justifying KIA’s failure because I have criticised the KIA K900 and its failure in the most severest way possible in my previous comment.
            What a funny little nonsensical rambling boy you are with no credibility at all…^^

          • Mobis21

            Your belligerence and belittling words of ugliness highlight an under current of intense anger and bitterness. Are you a failed product manager whose career careened out of control and ended up in the toilet? Is that why you’ve targeted my comments for attack? There is always a ring of irony when someone throws stones. It seems that rather than discuss the K900 you want to project your frustrations of failure. Well they are yours not mine.

            And for the record, I defend my comments regarding Kia’s foolish decision to market the K900 (a name only a village idiot could love) and double-down further by stating that unless Kia can create a meme exclusive to the car linking it to some extra ordinary white-glove service/feature that can’t be had by any of the legitimate, recognized premium brands, the K900 is doomed.

          • J.R.

            It is quite a laughter inducing experience to deal with an ignorant & naive child with a one-track mind who blindly thinks that the lack of success of a product automatically means ‘proof of failure’ in ‘marketing’ employed for that product…

            My poor lost ignorant child Mobis21…

          • Mobis21

            J.R. you don’t know me and I don’t know you but I can see that you have very strong feelings about this car? and Kia? You seem so consumed with anger and hostility. Perhaps you are suffering from hurt feelings? I have never criticized you or attacked any of what you posted so why do you insist on attacking me?

            If you think that my opinion of Kia is wrong then it’s okay to say so without being nasty or rude. I do not agree with you but I am not the angry one. This is a car we are discussing after all not your flesh and blood. I will continue posting my opinions about the K900 without attacking any thing you say because a car is not human and it doesn’t care one way or another whether you like it or not.

            Happy holidays!

  5. DADT

    Most of the reviews I’ve read on it have been of the “yes, but” variety. Yes, it’s got standard leather, but the quality of the leather falls short when compared to Lexus or BMW. Yes, it rides nice, BUT the handling leaves something to be desired. Yes, the workmanship is decent BUT its competitors have excellent fit and finish…I can do this all day.



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