$60,000 Kia K900 made for 'confident individualists,' says VP

In its first two months, Kia sold 365 K900s.
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DETROIT -- Kia is taking the slow and steady approach to its freshly launched K900 luxury sedan.

The K900, backed by the comedic “Matrix”-themed ad campaign, is Kia’s most expensive and luxurious model to date.

“We’ve positioned the vehicle in what we define ‘the sweet spot,’” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Kia Motors America. “That’s between the mid-luxury space and premium-luxury space. If you think of the BMW 5 series versus the BMW 7 series, we’re kind of right in the middle.”

The K900 starts at $60,400, including shipping.

Before the K900, Kia’s most expensive model was the upscale Cadenza, which starts at $35,900, including shipping.

The automaker is taking its time, first selling the sedan on the West Coast in March. Kia is now moving the K900 inward to continue the delicate rollout, said Sprague.

Kia sold 105 K900s in March and 260 in April.

“It’s been a very slow ramp-up. We had to make sure that we got the vehicle right. It’s our first foray into the luxury space, and if we don’t do it right, we won’t get another chance,” Sprague told reporters after a presentation during the Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit.

“We sold a couple in Ohio earlier this week, so by the end of this month, they will start to be here in southeast Michigan.”

With the K900, Sprague said Kia is targeting “confident individualists” who are looking for something unique.

Confident individualists, Sprague said, don’t let brands define them. They don’t have to showcase their wealth and success with a particular brand because they are confident in what they’ve achieved.

Kia also is going after the “tech-obsessed consumer” with lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.

For those who’ve asked why Kia is jumping into the luxury pack, Sprague was succinct.

“We see other luxury brands moving down into the mass market space, the sub-$30,000 area,” Sprague said. “We ask ourselves, why can’t we move up in their space?”

Sprague said there isn’t a volume target that will define success for the K900.

Instead, he said the focus is to lift brand awareness and consideration.

“Are the dealers seeing it draw traffic into their stores, not just for that vehicle, but other vehicles as well,” he said. “It’s a lot of different factors. It’s not just a sales number.”

You can reach Vince Bond Jr. at vbond@crain.com. -- Follow Vince on Twitter


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