Kia Considers Launching Competitor to BMW 3 Series | Edmunds

Kia Considers Launching Competitor to BMW 3 Series

CHICAGO — Korean automaker Kia is expected to introduce a rear-wheel-drive sedan next year that targets the BMW 3 Series, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The car will be a sporty premium sedan with ride, handling and steering qualities similar to that of the popular 3 Series. Kia is also targeting Audi A4 buyers as well.

The new Kia is expected to be based on the on the Kia GT Concept shown at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

Pricing on Kia's 3 Series fighter has not been disclosed.

The sources said the car will be positioned between Kia's most expensive model, the Kia K900, and the front-wheel-drive Kia Cadenza. The redesigned 2017 Kia Cadenza will be introduced at the 2016 New York Auto Show.

Michael Sprague, the Kia Motors America chief operating officer who oversees sales, marketing, service and product planning functions for Kia in the U.S., said consumers loved the 2011 concept.

"That validation made us say, 'Wow,' we have an opportunity here," Sprague said in a recent interview. "I am not confirming it. (But) look at our history of introducing a concept and usually coming to market (with a production vehicle)."

The Kia GT Concept is a rear-wheel-drive sedan with a 390-horsepower 3.3-liter turbocharged V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Kia's sister brand, Hyundai Motor America, will introduce a rear-wheel-drive 3 Series fighter next year called the G70 as part of the launch of the Genesis brand.

Over the past few years, consumers have asked that a convertible, pickup truck and sport sedan be added to the Kia product line, Sprague said.

"We will continue to study the market," Sprague said. "We are not content with where we are today."

Edmunds says: Kia continues its upscale march, especially with the likely addition of a new model designed to take on some major German competitors.

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