#IAA: Kia roadster?

Time 2:31 pm, September 20, 2011

kia2KIA could soon reinvent the classic British roadster – just as Mazda did with the MX-5 20 years ago.

As part of the Korean firm’s attempts to energise its brand and make it appear more sporty, executives are looking at the models that can help them realise their ambitions.

Benny Oeyen (pictured), vice president of marketing and product planning for Kia Motors Europe, told Car Dealer Magazine he thinks a Kia ‘MX-5’ would do the job perfectly.

‘I’d like to have a Kia MX-5 fighter in our range,’ he told us on the firm’s stand at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

‘I think it would fit our brand perfectly. You make an emotional car and then you make it affordable. I want to bring back the old British roadster but with a Kia badge.

‘I think that would be cool. This is me talking now about just one of the possibilities we are looking at, but I think it could have a small 1.6-litre turbo-charged engine and it would have to be rear-wheel drive. In an ideal world that’s what I’d do.’

Oeyen said he would price the Kia just under Mazda’s legendary MX-5 to make it even more attractive and added that some of the design cues seen on the GT concept unveiled at Frankfurt could also be transferred.

‘We are looking at a number of different possibilities. Performance cars, coupes, sedans and convertibles – these are the key ways of how, by product, we can move the Kia brand forward,’ added Oeyen.

‘Performance cars are very close to being approved. The other two we are still looking at, but Kia is growing like crazy. Seven years ago Kia was selling 1m cars a year. Now we are over 2.2m, this year will be more than 2.4.

‘And that is product-led growth. Product is what counts – it is the foundation of our brand house. Exciting performance cars and convertibles would only keep us moving in the right direction.’

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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