Kia Stinger needs time, says design boss
The future of the Kia Stinger is in the balance. But the man behind the design team that created the rear-wheel drive fastback says it deserves time to find its feet.
Head of European design for Kia, Gregory Guillaume, is clearly proud on the car his team created but is also realistic about where it sits in Kia’s model cycle plan.
“I think there is several things that will have to be considered. There’s the volume expectation with Stinger. I mean, we never really expected to do massive volumes with the car, which was a halo car…
“[But] We did want to be successful at least in America — the market where we thought there’s a chance actually that it works,” Guillaume told carsales during a visit to Kia Europe HQ and the Frankfurt motor show.
“At the moment I’m not sure it’s doing as good as we had hoped — but the thing is we had very high… expectations for that market.”
Guillaume says establishing a foothold in the large car/sedan segment is a challenge.
“It’s very difficult to start in such segments. I mean, the beginning of my career was at Audi… It took them three generations of the A8 to be seen on [an equally] high level to a 7 Series or an S-Class.
“But you have to persevere. If you’re entering these segments, whether it’s premium or image vehicles, you have to give yourself a bit of time.
“So the company [Kia] will have to be ready to understand that… We are going to have to, you know, explain to them that.”
Guillaume wants Stinger to continue in the same vein as its original concept – rather than morph into an SUV coupe or similar. But he says it will also remain a different vehicle from the Genesis G70 with which it shares DNA.
Electrification is one area that could be explored with the Kia sports flagship.
“We need to continue as a car. The sedan market is getting more and more difficult worldwide, of course. We are going to have to see if Stinger continues… and if we think that this is the format to continue in the future.
“As you know, there’s a lot going on with electrification. So that could be that Stinger becomes something else.
“We are not there yet,” he stated referring to the fact Stinger has yet to reach its midlife facelift.
“Although, I think we are all very confident about how the Stinger looks today. If there’s an issue with the volume it’s not because of how the car looks and everything; it’s more the [price] positioning where it is for a Kia,” Guillaume stated.