Kia reveals sketches of new K900

TO many in Europe, the idea of Kia producing a car aimed at competing directly with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series would once have seemed like a bit of a silly idea. But when the South Korean automaker came up with the Stinger late last year, it started to change how people think about the brand, so a luxury sedan to take on Germany's finest might not sound as preposterous an idea as it once may have. In fact, Kia has had such a model in its range for a few years now, but the K900 isn't currently offered for sale in Europe. Now the company has released sketches of a next-generation K900, so don't rule this one out from going global in the future.

At the moment, the K900 (or K9 or Quoris as it's known in non-English speaking markets) is sold in South Korea, the Middle East, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, Russia, the United States and Canada. There are plans to launch it in China too, but probably under yet another name.

Kia teased the profile of the second-generation K900 last month, and now some more expansive renderings have been released. The new model is a joint effort between the company's global design office in Namyang, South Korea, and its US design studio in Irvine, California, and it looks to be taking the car even further upmarket in a more concerted effort to compete with established German rivals. There's no getting away from the fact the lines of the new model are decidedly German-influenced, to say the least. And that's likely to be largely due to the company's head of design, Peter Schreyer, who used to work for Audi and counts the TT among his previous credits.

Apparently, the images are a close representation of the production model that will go on sale in the second quarter of this year. It could be unveiled at the New York Auto Show as that's one of the last big shows before Q2. But perhaps the most surprising thing about the car is that it's being produced at all. In 2017 for example, the K900 sold just 455 units in the important US market, which is an extremely low number and made it the eighth worst-selling car in America last year. If nothing else, Kia deserves credit for its belief and persistence. – AFP Relaxnews