The Kia Cadenza, Kia Motors Corp.'s replacement for its Amanti large sedan, could be the first car to get Kia's new direct-injection gasoline engine.
The Cadenza, which was unveiled last week in South Korea, goes on sale in North America in 2011.
Production of the Amanti ended this year. Once inventories run out, U.S. dealers will lack a large sedan until the Cadenza arrives, spokesman Michael Choo said. In the meantime, the mid-sized Optima will be Kia's biggest sedan, he said.
"The U.S. wants to grow into this model," Choo said. "The market isn't ready for it yet."
The four-door, five-seat Cadenza is shorter than the Amanti but has a longer wheelbase and more interior space, Kia said in a release.
In Korea, the car has a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Engine specifications of the North American version of the Cadenza still are being decided. But the car could get Kia's new direct-injection gasoline engine, Choo said.
The front-drive Cadenza is the first on the company's new Type N platform. A lighter, stronger body shell and new suspension help make the Cadenza 286 pounds lighter than the Amanti.
The Cadenza makes its global auto show debut Dec. 12 at the Riyadh Motor Show in Saudi Arabia, Kia said. The car will be built at Kia's Hwasung assembly plant in South Korea.
It goes on sale this year in South Korea. Exports to global markets other than the United States and Europe begin in January.