A Ceed fastback is coming, heralded by the Proceed concept

A Ceed fastback is coming, heralded by the Proceed concept

After a trying 2017 when sales fell in China and the USA, a constant roll out of new Kia models should see deliveries heading back in the right direction. In this first of two features, the brand's cars are looked at, as well as their successors. The second part will see the emphasis shift to SUVs, MPVs, electric vehicles and a future pick-up.


The JA series Morning is Kia's main model in the A/City car segment. This 3,595mm long five-door hatchback went on sale in South Korea during January 2017. The Picanto-badged model for Europe and certain other markets then made its world debut at the Geneva motor show six weeks later. In Europe, sales commenced from April 2017.

This five-door small car introduced a new Hyundai-Kia small car architecture, which Kia Motors calls 'H platform'.

China's Dongfeng Yueda Kia (DYK) joint venture might also manufacture the latest model, selling it as the Kia K1.

A version of the Picanto with raised suspension had its world premiere at the Frankfurt IAA in September 2017. This is the Picanto X-Line.

Facelifts for the Morning and Picanto are due in 2020. The future generation model should be in dealerships during early 2023, underpinned by a version of the existing car's architecture.

The Ray is the only other A segment model. This tall city car was launched in South Korea, which remains its main market, in November 2011. It has conventional driver's side rear doors but on the passenger side, there is a large sliding door. The standard engine is a 1.0-litre unit. A turbocharged 1.0-litre was added from September 2012.

There was a facelift in December 2017 and the second generation model should be on sale in South Korea in November or December 2019.

The B/Sub-compact segment is where Kia is especially strong, the Rio and its derivatives being the brand's best selling cars.

The latest generation of this model had its world premiere as the five-door hatchback Rio at the Paris motor show in September 2016. In South Korea, the model name is Pride, and in China, where production commenced in November 2016, it is K2. Both sedan and hatchback are available in China.

Kia's Mexican plant is an additional build location for this generation of the Rio. The car went into production at Pesqueria in January 2017. The factory, which is in the state of Nuevo León, opened in May 2016 operating on one shift, producing around 100,000 units per year of the Forte. Second and third shifts were added in 2017 and 2018 to bring annual capacity to 300,000 units. Kia expects the plant to be operating at full capacity of 400,000 units by the end of 2018.

The GT Line is the latest Rio variant, having been introduced at the Geneva motor show earlier in March. This brings with it the first application of HMG's 120PS 1.0 T-GDi in the Rio. The 100PS version of this engine which was already available in the Rio is an alternative powertrain for GT Line trim.

A slight styling update should be launched in the Korean market in March 2019. Then in 2022, we should see the next generation model released there, again badged as the Pride.

In the B/C segment, Kia has the Pegas, a model that is presently available only in China. This 4.3m long sedan was developed for the Dongfeng Yueda Kia joint venture. Its debut was at April 2017's Auto Shanghai and production started three months later. DYK began selling the Pegas in September 2017 as its cheapest sedan, priced below the smaller K2.

This might also be the 'strategic compact sedan' which Kia Motors has told the media that it will manufacture at its first Indian plant. This is under construction in Anantapur District in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The plant is expected to begin production in the second half of 2019 and produce up to approximately 300,000 units each year.

As well as the sedan, Anantapur District will also make a small SUV. That might be either an RHD version of the KX3 which is currently built only by China's Dongfeng Yueda Kia JV, or it might be the Stonic. Details of these models are in the report which follows this one.

The new Ceed is Kia Motors Europe's replacement for the cee'd and Forte/K3/Cerato ranges. There are replacements for the cee'd (five-door hatchback) and cee'd SW (estate) but there is no direct successor for the pro_cee'd (three-door). Instead, there will be a five-door fastback/shooting brake as hinted at by the KED-12 Proceed concept - see the image above.

The life cycles of the Ceed and Cerato/K3 have been aligned so that Kia will soon be building one basic global model instead of two distinct ranges.

Images of the new K3 hit the internet in January, followed shortly by the world debut of the Forte at the Detroit auto show. The successor for the cee'd had its public debut at the Geneva motor show. It uses the same platform as the Hyundai i30. There should eventually be mild hybrid, EV and possibly PHEV versions. The Ceed SW (estate) was also a world debut at the recent Geneva show.

LHD markets receive the Ceed five-door from May, to be followed by the SW. Cars for RHD European markets will follow from August with the SW to be available from September or October.

Once all cars in this range are available, the line-up will be as follows:

  • K3/Forte/Cerato (sedan)
  • Ceed/Cerato Hatch (five-door hatchback)
  • Ceed SW (estate)
  • Proceed (shooting brake, name to be confirmed)
  • Crossceed (crossover, name is speculative)

Facelifts for the sedan, hatchback and estate should go on sale during 2021 with the next generations of these cars due for release in 2024. The equivalent restyling and replacements for the shooting brake and crossover will lag those dates by roughly 12 months.

The K4 is another special model for China's DYK joint venture. Available since October 2014, the 4.72m long sedan is closely related to the similarly sized Hyundai Mingtu/Mistra. 

Following from the debut of a prototype earlier that year, the production model premiered at the 2014 Chengdu motor show. The K4 offers the choice of 1.8- and 2.0-litre engines. DYK is expected to facelift the K4 later in 2018 and add a new variant, reportedly to be called Kaishen. Both models should then be replaced in late 2020.

Kia's global model for the D/Mid-size segment is the K5, also known as the Optima. The current generation went on sale in South Korea as the K5 in July 2015.

Kia also offers an Optima wagon/estate body style for certain, mainly European countries. The US importer ruled out this body style for North America. A preview in the form of the KED-11 Sportspace concept had its global debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2015. The production model, the Sportswagon, was revealed at the 2016 Geneva show, going on sale in EU and EFTA markets from August 2016.

A facelifted K5 sedan was revealed to the Korean media in January. The updated Sportswagon then premiered at the Geneva motor show earlier this month. Both bodies will be replaced in the third quarter of 2020.

In the E segment, Kia has the K7. The latest model went on sale in South Korea in January 2016. The Cadenza-badged car for the US, Canada and certain other countries had its public debut at the New York auto show three months later. The K7/Cadenza is closely based on the smaller K5/Optima sedan.

Engine options are as follows:

  • 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel
  • 2.4-litre four-cylinder GDI
  • 3.3-litre V6

"Our sales target is 75,000 including 50,000 domestic sales," Kim Chang-sik, executive vice president of Kia Motors told the media at the car's launch in January 2016. "The new model will be sold abroad from the second half of this year, starting from Africa and the Middle East. It is expected to be launched in the US in September." The Cadenza did indeed go on sale in North American markets from September 2016, new for the region's 2017 model year.

A facelifted K7 went on sale in Korea during December 2017. Another round of styling changes is expected in 2020. Then, the follow-up model should be released at the start of 2023.

There is no K8. Instead, the Stinger is positioned between the K7 and K9 sedans. This hatchback, sized between the 4,733mm long Audi A5 Sportback and 4,969mm A7 Sportback, is targeted mainly at the US market. Production commenced in April 2017 with the first cars delivered to buyers in South Korea one month later. It is also available in China, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

This 4,831mm long car uses an evolution of HMG's RWD and AWD platform.

In North America, the Stinger offers both 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo and 3.3-litre V6 biturbo engines, each coming with a standard Hyundai-Kia eight-speed automatic transmission. The 255hp four-cylinder engine is for the Stinger, whereas the 365hp V6 is for the Stinger GT. HMG's 5.0-litre V8 should become available later this year or in 2019.

A 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel variant had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2017. Kia Motors sells this car not only in Europe but in South Korea too.

In the domestic market, the Stinger has stylised E badges rather than Kia ones. This suggests that Kia is using the same strategy to what Hyundai initially employed with Genesis. The E is said to stand for Excellence and Exclusivity. Of course the badging doesn't necessarily mean that Kia is planning a new luxury brand but it does suggest that this option is being explored.

Some sources also believe that a coupe version of this car is under development. Such a vehicle would obviously be based upon the GT4 Stinger concept which had its world premiere at January 2014's Detroit auto show.

A facelifted Stinger is scheduled for release in the final quarter of 2020. The second generation model will probably appear in mid-2023.

The K9 is the largest of the brand's sedans. Kia Motors America will be holding the public debut of the next generation model at the New York auto show.

Developed with the JS project code, the car retains the K9 name in South Korea and China, K900 in North America and is likely to again be called Quoris in Russia. Kia wants the JS to supplement the Stinger as a more expensive sports sedan.

Powertrain choices include 3.3-litre turbo and 3.8-litre V6 engines as well as a 5.0-litre V8, each linked to HMG's own ten-speed automatic.

Although the body and interior are new, the big Kia is, under the fresh body, more or less the same car as the Genesis G90/EQ900. Production has just started on the same line within Ulsan Plant 5. As with the first generation model, there will be some SKD assembly in Kazakhstan too.

As per the first generation K9, the new one should have a production life of six years, with a facelift at the half-way point, which would be 2021.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

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