DETROIT -- Now that Hyundai has the big, V-8-powered Genesis, is sister company Kia planning a similar premium sedan?
Although Kia has not confirmed such a project, the automaker has not denied its existence, either.
"A rear-wheel-drive premium sedan could be seen as a logical step from the Optima to the next level of Kia development," Kia Motors Australia COO Tony Barlow told Australian automotive Web site Drive.com. "It is far too early at this stage to be any more precise about the car."
A premium Kia sedan would be following in Hyundai’s footsteps. The car likely would be positioned as an alternative to BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and in Australia, the Holden Commodore. Rather than creating a unique platform, the Kia model would share the rwd platform used for the Genesis sedan and coupe, and the Equus sedan. The two automakers share front-drive platforms.
Hyundai likely would share its V-6 and V-8 engines with Kia, too.
The sedan would be viewed as the most significant Kia vehicle created under the direction of Peter Schreyer, Kia’s design boss and the former head of Audi and Volkswagen design.
While Schreyer did not acknowledge the existence of the project, his enthusiasm for rwd vehicles was clear, according to the Drive.com story.
"I think when you can work with the rear-wheel-drive proportion it is always good for the designer," he said. "For a big sedan it is the better proportion, fantastic proportion, of course."
Asked if a rwd sedan would represent the next step in Kia's design language, Schreyer relied: "I cannot talk about things that are probably in development."