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Kia starts preorders of K9, plans to sell 26,000 a year

South Korean carmaker says K9 will compete with Mercedes’ E series

Kia Motors, sister company to South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor, has started preorders of all new K9, the largest model of its signature K-series here, with an aim to sell 20,000 units a year, the company said Tuesday.

At a media session held to unveil the all new K9, the carmaker’s vice president Kwon Hyuk-soo said it also plans to sell the luxury sedan overseas in the second half, setting the sales target at 6,000 a year.

A K9 sedan displayed at Salon de K9 in Seoul (Kia Motors)
A K9 sedan displayed at Salon de K9 in Seoul (Kia Motors)


Calling it the ultimate luxury car for Kia, the executive expressed confidence that it will compete strongly with foreign rivals including Mercede-Benz’s E series.

Foreign brands take up about half of the large sedan segment, selling 60,000 each year. Domestic brands sell about 59,000 units a year, Kwon said. With the K9, the company hopes to take some 32 percent of the segment, he added. The new version of the sedan will make its official debut in South Korea in April, with production for overseas shipments beginning in September.

In terms of performance and technology, the K9 will outdo Mercedes-Benz’s E series, said Kim Dae-hwan, manager of Kia’s domestic product marketing team, when asked of what makes the sedan better than the German carmaker’s best-selling model.

The K9, which debuted six years ago, has undergone a complete revamp this year.

The carmaker has added futuristic and luxurious elements under its design philosophy, “Gravity of Prestige.” Duplex LED headlamps surrounded by metallic bezels and a quadric pattern grille were adopted to best express its luxurious, dynamic image, said Moon Jung-bin, chief designer for K9.

Inside, the sedan has a 12.3-inch screen, simplified manual buttons on the center fascia and separate screens for back-seat passengers. The company has collaborated with Swiss watchmaker Maurice Lacroix on the interior, which includes an ambient light system designed to provide comfort for tired drivers, the company added.

To enhance its performance, it has featured the latest technological elements including lane following assist, blind-spot view monitor and navigation-based smart cruise control.

Kia offers K9 in three engine lineups -- 3.8-liter gasoline, 3.3-liter turbo gasoline and 5.0 liter gasoline -- with 3 or 4 trims each.

Prices range from 54.9 million won to 93.8 million won.

The carmaker has no plan yet to develop hybrid or a full electric model for the K9, an official said.

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com)
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