Here’s How Kia Is Stepping up Its Game

2014 Cadenza

Of the many ways to disrupt the auto industry, offering luxury-grade specs in sedans south of $40,000 is one strategy to pursue. Adding an electric version of a popular car is another. Kia Motors (KIMTF.PK) is executing both maneuvers as well as launching a bona fide luxury car, three ways the Korean automaker hopes to cement its place as a force to be reckoned with on U.S. soil.

Enter the 2014 Cadenza 

In affordable full-size sedans, the GM (NYSE:GM) Chevy Impala and Toyota (NYSE:TM) Avalon represent two legitimate options from the world’s leading automakers. The Impala earned GM bragging rights in Consumer Reports rankings when it topped the list of highest rated sedans. The 2014 Kia Cadenza is starting to get similar attention. A Dallas Morning News review heaped praise on the new Cadenza, which starts at $35,100.

The reviewer considered Kia’s achievement putting a luxury product in an affordable package. Kia is known as a value brand, but if the automaker can continue attracting the attention of luxury consumers, it will facilitate the company’s rise to prominence in the U.S. Motor Trend recently named the 2014 Cadenza the full-size sedan champion against the likes of the Impala, Avalon,  Chrysler (FIATY.PK) 300 and Ford (NYSE:F) Taurus.  Kia has an even more promising launch planned for next year.

Kia Turns to Rear-Wheel Luxury 

An entry-level luxury sedan is nice, but a bona fide rear-wheel-drive cruiser could draw in consumers of brands like BMW and GM’s Cadillac. Kia is set to launch the K900, a U.S. version of the Quoris, in early 2014. Since it is able to generate as much as 420 horsepower and said to offer BMW 7-series value in a price closer to $50,000, industry observers are waiting to see the finished product when it arrives on U.S. shores.

According to a report in Automotive News, the offensive will begin with a Super Bowl commercial for the Kia K900. Clearly, Kia knows how to approach the industry on the world’s biggest stage. With the K900 and the new Cadenza, it will have answers to the Cadillac CTS-V as well as the Chevy Impala, two important GM models. However, Kia is also acknowledging the electric vehicle market.

The Kia Soul Goes Electric 

It’s difficult for automakers who want a long-term plan to avoid the electric craze, and Kia announced it will debut an electric version of the popular Kia Soul next year. Slated to be a 2015 model, Green Car Reports sees the electric Soul having its closeup at the Los Angeles auto show in late November. The Kia Soul was a vehicle that took some of the market Toyota hope to corner with the release of the Scion xB.

Both boxy wagons that students gravitate towards, the Kia Soul proved to be more popular than the Scion xB. Toyota has had successes with so many products, yet Scion remains a relatively weak spot in the automaker’s portfolio. A battery-electric Kia Soul may add to the difficulties for Scion in the U.S. marketplace.

The first test for an automaker in the value category is offering a vehicle that makes consumers consider it a genuine alternative to brands that are priced higher by a wide margin. As Kia plans to offer a more affordable alternative to a BMW and Cadillac with its K900, the Super Bowl is the ideal forum for spreading the word. Its 2014 Cadenza is fit to do battle in the trenches with sedans such as the Impala and Avalon. Kia is making its move.

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