1st Kia coupe to debut in '09

A version of Kia’s Koup Concept, shown, will replace the Spectra next year. A sedan will go on sale by mid-2009, and a coupe will follow a couple of months later. The Spectra hatchback no longer will be sold in the United States.
LOS ANGELES — Kia will get its first coupe when the replacement for the Spectra goes on sale next summer.

A version of the Koup Concept, shown at this year's New York auto show, will replace the compact Spectra, said Lee Hyun-soon, president of Hyundai-Kia Motors' r&d division. Lee said the Spectra name may change.

A sedan will go on sale by mid-2009, and the coupe will follow a couple of months later. The Spectra hatchback no longer will be sold in this country.

"We believe the coupe will sell better than the hatchback," Lee said here at a ceremony for the new Kia Motors America $130 million design center. The hatchback will be sold mainly in Europe as the cee'd, he said.

Kia aims to transform its bland looks and attract younger buyers. The U.S.-designed Koup Concept is much sleeker than the Spectra. U.S. stylists also designed the Soul — a boxy, five-seat subcompact that goes on sale next spring.

"The Soul and Spectra Coupe — that's our opportunity to pick up steam in the future with Gen Y," said Tom Loveless, vice president of sales at Kia Motors America. "We haven't done a lot in that arena."

The Spectra was Kia's best-seller through May at 35,826 units, up 18.6 percent from the same period last year. 

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