New Kia flagship targets top end of sedan market
Cadenza sticker likely to top $30,000
DETROIT -- Kia hopes its new Cadenza flagship sedan will attract a growing number of buyers shopping in between mainstream and luxury segments.
Pricing wasn't announced, but the Cadenza is likely to start above $30,000 when it goes on sale in the second quarter. It will be positioned above the Kia Optima in size and content.
Tom Loveless, Kia's U.S. sales boss, predicts the Cadenza will attract previous owners of large sedans and premium vehicles.
"We're seeing the emergence of a whole new space between mainstream and luxury," he said last week at the Detroit auto show.
Loveless declined to provide a sales target, but said the Cadenza is not intended to be a high-volume vehicle.
The Cadenza has been sold in South Korea as the K7 for about three years and was freshened last year.
Ed Kim, an AutoPacific analyst, said Kia bosses in Korea wanted to bring the car to the United States earlier but held off to ensure a successful launch of the current Optima mid-sized sedan.
"Given how expensive even regular mid-sized sedans can get nowadays, a $30,000 sticker isn't an unreasonable place for Kia," Kim said, noting that most Kia Sorento crossovers already sell for more than $30,000.
"The Optima has done a lot to elevate Kia's status as a brand," he said.
Loveless: A low-volume vehicle
Orth Hedrick, director of product planning for Kia Motors America, said consumers are re-evaluating how they spend their money for vehicles.
"It's basically because of the recession," Hedrick said. "People have rethought their priorities and realize, 'Does it really make sense to have a $600 a month payment when you can get something in this category?'" he said.
The Cadenza is "a natural extension for the brand," Loveless told reporters. "Given the success of Optima and the mix that we see with Optima, it tells us there's a little something else there that we can capture."
You can reach Ryan Beene at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Follow Ryan on