YANGYANG, Gangwon – Kia Motors said it hopes to sell 18,000 units of its high-end K9 sedan in Korea this year and 25,000 units around the world next year. Kia said it plans to start exporting K9s to the United States in 2014.
“K9 was designed to compete with BMW’s 5 Series and 7 Series and Mercedes Benz’s E-Class and S-Class, although it may also compete with Genesis and Equus sedans,” Suh Choon-kwan, Kia’s vice president in charge of domestic marketing, said at Daemyung Sol Beach Resort in Yangyang, Gangwon, before a test drive event on Wednesday.
Kia rolled out the K9 sedan last week.
“The K9 is on par with BMW’s 7 Series and Mercedes’ S-Class or even better in terms of performance but it is priced in a similar range with BMW’s 5 Series and Mercedes’ E-Class,” Suh said. “The K9 has the right quality and price and we will provide the kind of service unrivalled by importers, and Korean customers will realize it’s easier to buy domestic cars. We will continue our promotion push.”
Kia boasted that the K9 is more advanced than its German rivals in many ways. K9 is quieter than the 7 Series and E-Class and is equipped with LED headlamps, which neither S-Class nor 7 Series has. K9’s headlamps also bend in the direction the vehicle is heading while Audi A8 sedans do not.
K9 also has a display that shows driving information on the front windshield, which the S-Class does not.
“The K9 has options that are not available in BMWs or Mercedes Benzes,” said Kim Chang-sik, executive vice president of domestic sales at Kia. “Customers would have to pay more than 100 million won [$87,619] for this kind of performance if they buy an import. We priced K9 in the same range with the 5 Series and E-Class. Now it is up to consumers to choose.”
Kim said Kia will be able to sell an average of 2,000 units a month this year. He also said there will be customers upgrading from K7 models and some who turn to K9 after having bought foreign luxury cars in the past.
In regard to domestic auto sales, Kim said, “The local automobile market contracted a little more in the first half but it is expected to recover to a level similar to that of last year.”
By Limb Jae-un[firstname.lastname@example.org]