Kia aims $60,400 K900 at 'confident individualists'

Kia sales and marketing boss Michael Sprague on the K900: “If you think of the BMW 5 series versus the BMW 7 series, we’re kind of right in the middle.”
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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 nameplate 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 midluxury 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, Sprague said.

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 last week after a presentation during an 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 want 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.

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


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