Kia’s Premium Sedan K900 is a Flop
kpride, Nov. 14, 2014, 10:01 a.m.
Kia's premium K900 sedan has been struggling in the U.S. market since its release there in March. In the first four month, a mere 200 K900s a month were sold. In July and August, sales dropped further to 100 to 130 a month before plummeting to 50 to 60 in September and October. At the Detroit Motor Show in January, Kia vice president Lee Hyoung-keun expressed great hopes for the car, which is called the K9 in Korea, but they remained unfulfilled.
The sluggish sales are partly due to weak brand power compared to rivals in the U.S. market such as Mercedes-Benz's S Class, Audi's A8, BMW's 7 series, and the Jaguar XJ. The K900 is luxurious enough, but it lacks the clout to impress rich customers, the New York Times said. Kia tried to turn the tables by hiring NBA star LeBron James to promote the sedan.
On the domestic front, a new version of the K9 has recently been released with the same 5-liter engine used in Hyundai's Equus limousine. The move bucks the trend of releasing models with smaller engine displacement, but Kia still hopes to establish itself at the top end of the market -- by all accounts a tall order.