There are some car companies that immediately make you think of style and luxury. Mercedes-Benz is on that list as is Rolls-Royce, but not Kia. Despite this, the company debuted the luxury K900 in an effort to reset our notions about the Kia brand.
The K900 is a $59,900 car. Who spends that kind of money on a Kia? Only about 1,300 people last year and this was somewhat concerning for the automaker so they’ve gone and lowered the price.
The car is now selling for $54,500 to make it a little more palatable, but they’ve also taken away a few of its luxury appointments. LED headlights, Nappa leather and a 17-speaker Lexicon stereo that were standard are now available as a Luxury Trim which bumps the price right back up to where it started.
The thing is, the K900 is truly a very good luxury sedan. It has a smooth, solid ride that you’d expect from far more expensive cars with traditional luxury badges, and that there is the problem.
People don’t buy a luxury car just because of the drive. They buy a luxury car because of its aura. It’s like being part of a special club. If someone sees you cruising down the highway in a Mercedes, then they will make certain assumptions.
You likely aren’t strapped for cash, have an appreciation for the finer things, and want to make a good impression. If someone sees you driving down the road in a Kia, that’s not at all what they’re going to think.
Kia makes some fine cars but they have a reputation for making cheap cars. The Cadenza is a fantastic example of how far they’ve come, and an example that’s much more affordable. A $60K Kia is hard to swallow.
Anyone spending that kind of money on a car doesn’t want people thinking they’re cheap. Yes, the K900 is a beautiful, well-equipped, comfortable luxury sedan. Yes, it has all the gadgetry you could want in a car. Unfortunately, it does not have the pedigree.
Kia likely hoped the K900 would change that perception, but sales of just 1,300 units proves it didn’t quite pull off the stunt. Lowering the price might entice a few more buyers, but $5,000 just isn’t enough of a break to make much of a difference.
And in the end, it’s not the price, but the brand itself that make the K900 a hard sell. Slap a known luxury badge on that hood and it’d sell, but most people just aren’t ready for a luxury Kia.