One of the Best Cars on Sale Today May Be Killed Off Next Year

This sports car delivers Porsche-level performance for half the price, but no one is buying it.

kia stinger
Kia

Whether you call it a sedan or a sporty fastback, the Kia Stinger has been a tremendous critical success. The high-performance Stinger GT model may be among the best value propositions out there, delivering Porsche Panamera-esque looks and performance for about half the price (or, in other words, a cut-rate Giulia Quadrifoglio). The Stinger was among the three finalists for North American Car of the Year in 2018, and we've heard it came exceedingly close to winning it.

But critical success has not translated into actual success, so the Stinger may not make it to a second generation. Korean Car Blog cites anonymous sources that claim Kia has sent out its production schedule to South Korean plants for 2022...and that schedule has Stinger production ending after Q2 2022.

It would be hard to quibble with Kia if it decided to terminate the Stinger, given the poor sales. Stinger numbers were up just 2% in the U.S. through June to 6,498 units...during a time when the Telluride rose 79% and the Seltos increased by 129%. Kia sold nearly eight times as many models of the new K5 that slots under the Stinger.

kia stinger
Kia

Why hasn't America warmed to the Kia Stinger the way it has to the Telluride? Sedans are a different market than SUVs. Crossover buyers don't exhibit the same brand fixation as other segments. They will flock to a less premium marque like Kia, Hyundai, or VW if it's offering a strong value proposition in the $40–$50K range.

But that same grey area market that's so lucrative with crossovers does not appear to exist for sedans. Affordable versions have a clear market, but buyers going past $40,000 really want a premium Audi, Lexus or BMW badge. There aren't many people looking to spend closer to $50,000 on a Kia sedan — even an awesome one.

The only manufacturer trying a similar premium midsize sedan gambit is Volkswagen with the Arteon. It has a similar story: reviewers love its luxury value; buyers want no part of paying almost $50,000 for a VW sedan.

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