There are three reasons. The first is that we wanted to enhance our brand's positioning so that a model like Stinger would be sustainable within our line-up. The Kia of 2018 is very different to the Kia of 2011, when the GT Concept was revealed. Kia is now a design-led challenger brand, not one known purely for mass-market transport rooted in value. Then we had to find somewhere to build it. That became possible when we introduced the K9/K900 luxury saloon (not sold in the UK), which is also rear-wheel drive. Stinger goes down the same production line. And finally we were determined to undertake arguably the most rigorous testing regime for any car in our history to ensure that Stinger would be an authentic gran turismo.
Our President of Design and Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer and European Head of Design Gregory Guillaume jokingly say that they had a bet – for a case of champagne – over whether a car based on the GT Concept would ever be produced, but the truth is that there was always great enthusiasm from all within Kia for a car like Stinger. Peter Schreyer says the faces of senior management would light up whenever the subject of a gran turismo was raised at planning meetings. The important thing was for us to get the timing right, from both a marketing and a practical standpoint.
Everyone within Kia felt that 'GT' was too bland a name for a car as stunning as Stinger, and it is also a name used by several other manufacturers. We think 'Stinger' perfectly describes the style, character and intent of our new gran turismo.
No. We could fit one under the bonnet, but Kia's policy is to downsize engines to improve fuel economy and emissions, and to use turbocharging and direct injection to ensure they deliver the performance we seek. We think a 4.7-second 0-60mph time for the ’GT S’ with a twin-turbo V6 is a pretty impressive acceleration figure.
Two factors always govern our planning decisions: is there a business case, and can we produce different kinds of car without disrupting the output of our existing models? If the answer to both questions is 'yes' then we will go ahead. Kia management, designers and engineers are just as much car people as those with any other company, and they are eager to stretch their imaginations and talents.