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Is the axe about to fall on the Kia Stinger?

By Trent Giunco, 24 Apr 2020 News

Kia Stinger

An updated Kia Stinger is on its way to Australia, but what about a second-generation model?

Kia stinger GT rear, on trackDespite rumours circulating that the Kia Stinger won’t survive to see a second-generation model, Kia Australia is adamant that it would welcome such a model with open arms.

Korean media is reporting that the axe is set to fall on the rear-drive, five-door liftback after the current generation’s impending update.

Speaking with Wheels, Kia Australia Communications Manager Kevin Hepworth said that the Australian arm hasn’t been informed of such a decision.

While there’s speculation on the Stinger’s future, the update (due by the end of Q3 this year) has also come under the microscope, with reports suggesting that the rear-drive sedan could switch to a boosted 3.5-litre V6 found in the Genesis G80.

Kia Stinger 272kW/510Nm 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6However, Hepworth was quick to quash these claims, stating that the current 272kW/510Nm 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 will carry over.

“We are getting no changes to powertrain, be that the gearbox or power outputs … there won’t be anything different to the actual engine,” he said.

“There may be a change to the headers or exhausts … but there is definitely no change in engine size or specification.”

Read next: Stinger GT-Line vs Peugeot 508 GT vs Volvo S60 T5

However, improved handling, increased interior tech and exterior design changes are on the cards.

Hepworth added that Kia Australia is eager for a second generation of the halo model to be developed as the company sold 1773 Stingers in 2019.

“Absolutely – there’s no reason why we’d change. We’re doing 125-150 a month, and that’s not disappointing in any way, shape or form,” he said.

“We’re very happy with what that car’s doing month in, month out; 1200 to 1500 cars a year – there’s nothing wrong with that.

Kia Stinger GT internal front“There are plenty of brands around that would like something that did that for them with that consistency.”

However, the fate of the Stinger has been under threat since its inception, with its success in Europe especially important to its survival.

“We are in a company that even if they understand the potential value of this brand-building object, we still have to be economically successful with that vehicle – it’s very, very difficult in Europe with a car like that,” Kia chief designer Gregory Guillaume said at the 2018 Paris motorshow.

Kia Stiner GT right-rear wheel“Marketing guys in Europe understood that from day one and still put a lot of money into communicating the car. There are parts of the world where it can work. Time will tell, it’s still a bit early but America needs to do volume. They need to sell the car,” Guillaume added.

The figures seem to not be stacking up in America, with Stinger sales falling to 13,861 in 2019 compared with 16,806 in 2018. Initial numbers for 2020 are also taking a downward trend.

Interestingly, around 80 percent of Stinger sales in Australia are for the top-spec GT version, which comes in at $60,790 and proves that our market is willing to pay for the performance offering.

Kia Stinger line-up