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Kia, Car Buying, Automotive News
#16 of 58 Re: KIA [benjaminh]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Nov 28, 2010 (2:08 pm)
The "latest unpleasantness" aside referred to the bombing by North Korea and escalating Korean tensions. Factory production in Korea could be shunted to war production. Who knows if that would impact the new US plant down in Georgia.
#17 of 58 Re: KIA [benjaminh]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Nov 28, 2010 (2:18 pm)
I think these days in the auto industry it's not so much about how much your particular product is improving from past models, but how fast it is improving in relation to competing models.
For a somewhat minor example of this, consider the number of times Cadillac tried to compete with Mercedes in the high-end roadster market, only to find out that their "new" car was only equivalent to Benz's old one.
Nov 28, 2010 (3:05 pm)
oh, that unpleasantness. Don't think it'll get that bad, but maybe I'm fooling myself.
shifty: seems like the Optima may possibly be close to competing with the Altima, or something like that, I'm not sure...Haven't driven either one, so I can't really say.
With a huge factory in the US I'd say they are unlikely to die. But it's true the brand has almost zero cache at this point. I mean being below Hyundai is tough.
Hyundai has come up a lot though--and many of their cars are pretty similar. The Optima looks different from the Sonata, but the engine, transmission, chassis and other innards are pretty much the same, aren't they.
I got a view of how much Hyundai has come up in the world on a recent visit to Nashville. We were in a neighborhood where the houses were probably about 400-800k. One house had loaded his and hers Sonatas. Doubt they would have considered the previous generation of that car. Just guessing, but the people looked like former Caddy owners or something else American and luxe...
Now people like that probably wouldn't consider a Kia, but maybe in 5 years they would? Guess that's a stretch....
Nov 28, 2010 (3:33 pm)
Didn't KIA hire away a stylist from Audi? I think the newer KIAs look kind of good these days, in a somewhat tortured way. Minimalist Audi meets Baroque on a budget, or something...
#20 of 58 Re: kia [benjaminh]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Nov 28, 2010 (3:43 pm)
I mean being below Hyundai is tough
Could be even tougher considering that Kia is mostly owned by Hyundai (40%, down from 51% back in Kia's bankruptcy days in 1997). I don't think Hyundai really wanted Kia but from stories I've read, the Korean government pretty much told them to outbid Ford for Kia.
Nov 28, 2010 (6:31 pm)
Seems to me unless Hyundai can push upscale (which they have tried but not with great success yet), and keep KIA in the cheap seats, then all they'll end up doing is financing KIA to do conquest sales against themselves.
#22 of 58 Re: kia [Mr_Shiftright]
Nov 28, 2010 (7:11 pm)
I'm sure you know more about these things than I do, but in my probably very fuzzy-headed way I guess I thought Hyundai was successfully moving upmarket. I mean the Genesis and Equus have gotten fairly good reviews, right? I know sales are still small at this point, but it seems like a few people who want some taste of what Lexus would be like without paying full price are trying the attempted upscale Hyundais? But am I wrong on that?
And the Sonata has moved more than a little, I think, from near the bottom of the mid-size pack to near the top. And Sonata's sales have zoomed up. Sales are up more than 60% so far this year, and as H seems to be selling c. 17,000 or so a month they'll get to about 200k by the end of the year. And now that they've added the turbo and the hybrid, in upcoming calendar 2011 they might get near 250,000 sales for the Sonata--which is pretty close to how many Accords are sold by Honda. That's pretty stunning to me.
And the Sonata has even been added to Car and Driver's top ten list of cars. That's somewhat impressive, isn't it.
And I could be wrong, but I don't think KIA is losing money, is it? Their sales are up and it seems like they are at least breaking even. So I'm not sure that KIA is draining the life blood of Hyundai. True KIA may not be helping them a lot on the bottom line, but I don't think they're bloodsuckers.
Since the Optima is really a classic badge engineered near-twin of the Sonata, however, it does seem like KIA is, as you say, probably stealing sales from Hyundai.
The Sonata is such a hit that I actually wonder whether that factory in Alabama that builds them is going to be allowed to make many of these Optimas. I mean when it comes right down to it if it turns out that every Optima built is a Sonata that's not built and therefore not sold....Maybe Hyundai as the bigger and more successful of the joined companies will just say. OK, we'll make 40,000 Optimas for you a year in Alabama, but that's it....???
(And man, do I not want to grade student papers tonight to have spent this much time on cars I don't even own.....!)
#23 of 58 Re: kia [benjaminh]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Nov 28, 2010 (7:54 pm)
Well the heading/subject for this topic has a ???? in it, so no, I don't claim to know any more than you do about it. KIA seems to be doing well -- I'm just not sure why--that is, I'm not sure if it's the genuine "hand of the market" or if KIA is a false positive right now.
I think Hyundai can only go upmarket so far with their nameplate and then hit a ceiling, and I think they have definitely hit it.
#24 of 58 Re: Article on the web on Kia demise!!!!!!! [Mr_Shiftright]
Mar 08, 2011 (1:49 pm)
Or maybe, if the price is right, and enough content is packed into the car, consumers won't care about those deficiencies?
Bingo. You put your finger right on the crux of the matter there, and perhaps one one of the keys to Kia's continued success? Although having a variety of wild-looking product that is different from the usual schlock being pushed by the Big 6 certainly helps too.
People are saying they like what they see of the early looks at the new Rio. Imagine if they bring the European diesel Rio (1.2?) to America - that would be a game changer - a $15K (slow) car that makes 50-60 mpg. I still love the looks of the car with the hamsters in the commercial (Soul?), but the mileage sucks so I wouldn't consider buying one.
#25 of 58 Kia is far from dead...
Mar 08, 2011 (4:45 pm)
...and will only do better due to an ongoing depression, (let's just call it what it is) and ever escalating fuel prices. It's the perfect storm in favor of a low-cost fuel-efficient make.