It was jarring, when the 2018 Kia Stinger debuted, to see the automaker’s corporate badge prominently displayed on a desirable, rear-drive sports sedan. In spite of the sales gloom that surrounds the traditional passenger car market, some of us have wondered whether the badge alone might cause performance-minded premium car buyers to overlook the model when it appears on dealer lots.
In Korea, however, no one will be able to blame the model’s success or failure on the presence of a “Kia” badge. That’s because it won’t have one.
According to South Korea’s Pulse, Kia’s lengthy new compact sedan won’t be sold in that country with a Kia badge. While its name is the same everywhere, the automaker has apparently designed a wholly new emblem to use on Stingers sold in its home market.
That’s right, the most droolworthy car to roll out of Kia since, well, ever won’t advertise that it’s a Kia. In every other market, customers won’t have to guess what company built the vehicle. Stingers go on sale in Korea in May before arriving in the U.S. later this year.
Why the badge switcheroo? A company spokesperson, speaking with Yonhap News, implied that the automaker hoped to draw non-Korean buyers into the brand with a hot Kia-badged vehicle. At home, the company is apparently undecided on what engines to offer. The Stinger will, however, start at about 30 million won, which translates into just under $27,000 greenbacks.
Americans already know what Stingers they’ll see. The model, which shares its architecture with the upcoming Genesis G70, will bow with a 255-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic in base trim, with an optional twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 making 365 hp.
[Image: Kia Motors]