The Kia Stinger has been dogged by rumors that its parent will end production, but it keeps ticking. But could his time finally come?
The latest report from Korea by Auto Times states that production of the current Stinger will end in April 2023.
Word is, however, that some kind of replacement – a sleek, electric four-door coupe – will arrive in 2025 to keep the sports sedan flame alive in Kia’s line-up.
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CarExpert reached out to Kia Australia, which had no comment on the report’s accuracy or the future of the Stinger.
While Auto Times notes that Kia has discontinued models in the Korean market due to slow sales that have survived in other markets such as the Soul and Stonic, it says that Kia “plans to phase out production of the Stinger entirely.”
A report by Korea’s Daily Car last July said production would end in 2022 and the factory would be converted to produce a hybrid carnival — something that didn’t happen in the end.
The Stinger went into production in 2017, marking the end of a traditional Korean passenger car lifecycle.
It received a mid-life update in 2021 with cosmetic upgrades and more equipment, but a more powerful 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder didn’t make it to Australia.
While it’s seen a recent surge in popularity in Australia – it’s expected to post its best-ever sales year – its performance in other markets has been unremarkable.
Sedans remain a hot commodity in South Korea, but the Stinger — technically a hatchback — has become the brand’s lowest-volume model there.
Auto Times reports that 1,499 units were sold there from January to September, down 39.1 percent from the same period last year.
Despite the availability of a turbo diesel four-cylinder engine, it has always been a niche player in Europe. But the Stinger came as diesels fell out of favor, and it never offered an electrified powertrain as Europe embraced those.
The European Stinger range was subsequently reduced to the top-of-the-line twin-turbocharged V6 GT.
It was also never destined for great success in China as it was not produced locally and is therefore subject to tariffs.
In the US market, which has a long history of embracing gasoline-powered sports sedans, its sales have been stable if unspectacular, hovering around 13,000 units almost every year since launch.
It outsold the Volkswagen Arteon there last year, but has been surpassed by almost every other mid or large car by a mainstream nameplate. The cheaper Optima-replacing K5 sold more than six to one last year.
When asked about the future of the Stinger in Australia in June, Damien Meredith, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Australia said: “The future at an operational level is fantastic.”
“We haven’t heard anything official from Korea yet on whether or not we’re going for a new Stinger model, so right now we’re just happy that we’re getting fantastic deliveries for the car and it’s doing exceptionally well in the market.”
“We’ve made no secret that we believe the EV6 is our new Halo product, from a technical and performance standpoint,” said Roland Rivero, Kia Australia’s general manager of product planning, noting that the EV6 will also bring new ones Brings buyers to the brand.
“There will always be ICE people who never want to switch, who are almost strongly against the switch to electric vehicles. Stinger will benefit from this for some time to come.”
Mr Rivero told CarExpert in May that the company continues to work off a lot of Stinger backlogs that are “worth a few more months.”
The flagship GT accounts for over 90 per cent of sales and, with the demise of the Chrysler 300, is the only mainstream brand rear-wheel drive sports sedan offered in Australia.
It has also become a favorite of some Australian police forces, having used it to replace the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.
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https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/motoring/kia-stinger-production-ending-in-april-2023-report-c-8616585 Kia Stinger production ends in April 2023 – report