Kia Rumored to Finish Stinger and K5 Manufacturing, Model Says Nah

Kia Rumored to Finish Stinger and K5 Manufacturing, Model Says Nah


Following studies that the Hyundai Sonata might not be lengthy for this world, there have been rumbling that the destiny of the Kia Stinger and K5 sedan may additionally be in jeopardy.

The reasoning is apparent. After years of crossovers seeing an elevated share of the worldwide market, automakers have been dumping sedans to allow them to promote merchandise that include larger margins. A large share of the inhabitants has additionally been offered on the idea that higher-riding autos are robotically safer than their road-hugging counterparts. Whereas that’s endlessly debatable between fashions, there are features of crossovers that make actual sense for the trendy period. Storage capability is usually higher than what you’d discover on a equally sized sedan and the lengthened suspension journey will help the automobile soak up the affect of pothole-laden streets that appear to be cropping up all over the place. 

Whether or not its wholly the results of advertising, automakers that beforehand culled their lineup of sedans (e.g. virtually each American model), or an natural change primarily based across the evolving wants of drivers, crossovers and SUVs now dominate the automotive market. However it’s coming on the expense of autos some folks (your writer included) are inclined to desire. We’re shedding good autos that may sometimes be discovered with semi-rational value tags and it appears to be like like we could be on track to see just a few extra stroll off into the sundown.

These stressors are reportedly just a few years away, nonetheless. Stories of the Sonata’s demise recommend that it’ll get a refresh within the coming years earlier than being phased out solely someplace round 2027. The explanation given is that Hyundai Motor Group (which incorporates Kia) is concentrating on annual gross sales of greater than 3 million electrical autos globally by 2030 and must unlock area in its lineup for EVs. In actual fact, the Asan plant in South Korea the place the Sonata is produced has already stopped constructing it to make room for the Ioniq 6 electrical sedan.

Automotive Information speculated that Kia’s sedans could also be struggling an analogous destiny. Although it was hardly alone. Quite a few retailers advised that the model might already be choosing out tombstones for the K5 and Stinger, with no scarcity of assist from market annalists.


“Beneath Government Chairman Euisun Chung, there appears to be a willingness to eliminate sentimentally iconic nameplates because the automaker forges forward towards the longer term,” defined Ed Kim, president and chief analyst at AutoPacific.

As beforehand acknowledged, sedan gross sales have been on the decline. Although a few of that has been attributed to the trade (each manufacturing facility and seller franchise) deprioritizing their existence so push crossovers providing superior profitability.

J.D. Energy beforehand reported that SUV (which incorporates crossovers for some purpose) and pickup gross sales accounted for a report 80.2 p.c of latest automobile gross sales final December. EV gross sales are additionally up by a whopping 80 p.c (year-over-year), regardless of their solely representing 3 p.c of the general market. However that also doesn’t go away a whole lot of room for sedans that previously dominated seller tons. Whereas the physique type nonetheless enjoys thousands and thousands of gross sales globally each single 12 months, most particular person fashions have continued shedding floor into 2022.

From Automotive Information:

Annual U.S. gross sales of the Sonata final topped 200,000 in 2015 (213,303) and quantity has steadily dropped to beneath 100,000 in recent times.

“Its recognition has plummeted in its major markets of North America and South Korea by the hands of crossover SUVs,” Kim stated. “It has more and more grow to be a fleet automobile in South Korea, fashionable with taxi operators, however with Hyundai Motor Group about to launch the all-electric Kia Niro Plus taxi, the Sonata’s relevance is additional threatened.”

Kia’s midsize sedan, the K5, previously the Optima, shares the identical platform with the Sonata and can possible be phased out as properly.

“I might be shocked if K5 doesn’t observe the identical destiny as Sonata,” [Jesse Toprak, chief economist for Autonomy] stated. “It is vitally possible you’re going to see the identical trajectory of sluggish manufacturing declines over the subsequent three to 5 years for the K5 till it’s utterly changed by an EV.”

The rear-drive, performance-oriented Stinger can also be stated to be in bother. Initially designed to be a halo automobile for the Kia model with the purpose of drumming up pleasure amongst automotive fanatic, the mannequin has truly managed to keep up a comparatively wholesome gross sales report. Regardless of U.S. deliveries dropping to 12,556 models in 2020, the Singer bounced again with 13,517 gross sales in 2021. Sadly, its occupying the identical midsize sedan section that almost all automakers appear to be nixing to prioritize EVs and/or crossovers.

“[The Stinger] demonstrated that Kia may do a bona fide rear-wheel-drive efficiency automobile, and regardless that it wasn’t a quantity vendor, it helped elevate the Kia model significantly,” Kim stated. “Even when it finally ends up as a one-generation automobile, it is going to nonetheless have accomplished its supposed job.”

Neither Hyundai or Kia appear to have been prepared to substantiate or deny rumors that any of the above autos are being put out to pasture within the preliminary studies. Nevertheless the latter model’s PR group did inform us that the Stinger and K5 are usually not going wherever.

That might be as a result of probability of any U.S. discontinuations being just a few years off. However there are additionally rising issues throughout the trade that full-scale EV manufacturing won’t be tenable for a while. The value of uncooked supplies are skyrocketing proper now, elevating manufacturing prices throughout the board. This consists of the already costly batteries which are put into electrical autos, with annalists suggesting costs might climb by over 22 p.c between now and 2026.

Mix that with earlier assertions that international manufacturing charges (and costs) might not return to these witnessed earlier than COVID lockdowns and you may sort of see the place all of this might be going. Regardless of determining the right way to stay worthwhile in a time of disaster, the way forward for the automotive trade appears to be like fairly perilous normally. Emissions laws are tightening, manufacturing prices are means up, and everybody however essentially the most prosperous of consumers have much less cash to throw round. It’s going to be extremely tough proposition to completely rework the market into an EV-dominant panorama and it’s in all probability only a matter of time till folks start clamoring for dependable autos with cheap value tags.

If automakers could make that work with EVs, then this was a bunch of handwringing about nothing. However there’s mounting proof that complicates that individual supposition. In the meantime, any marque that decides to go in opposition to the grain and proceed providing conventional sedans might quickly have your entire section to themselves. Although it’s a big gamble that assumes crossovers received’t proceed gaining in recognition and EVs are nonetheless a decade or two from seeing mainstream acceptance. Kia mainly advised us there’s no purpose to fret concerning the K5 and Stinger, so perhaps it’ll be a type of manufacturers.*

Our managing editor was at an trade occasion and requested a Kia spokesperson about this report and was advised that the Stinger and K5 aren’t going wherever.

Typically the choices the trade must be making appear painfully apparent you surprise how company management hasn’t already been fired. Different instances I’m simply overwhelmingly glad these aren’t my selections to make. This one falls into the latter class.

[Images: Hyundai Motor Group]

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October 2022