Kia K900 Effort Says Car, Not Heritage, Makes Luxury

Kia is really doing it: The automaker, which has a solid rep as a mass market brand, and some baggage around people perceiving it as a lower-end brand, is going to become a player in the premium market, and screw the naysayers to the sticking place! 

Kia started up-market this year when it launched the Cadenza sedan. But now it's revving an ad campaign for the K900. Will people take the brand seriously as a maker of a luxury car, and one that starts at $50,000 as the K900 reportedly will?

The effort for the rear-wheel-drive sedan, which was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show this fall and will again be shown in Detroit, starts with a TV spot on Christmas Day. The 30-second ad, “Preconceived Notions,” will, per Kia, air nationally on NBA games on ESPN and ABC. Kia, which is the official car of the NBA, is also introducing a new tag, "It Changes Everything." The automaker is also going to be advertising the car during the Super Bowl in February, as well. 

The K900 shares a manufacturing platform with sibling Hyundai's next-generation 2015 Genesis, a car that Hyundai Motor America will advertise in one of its own Super Bowl slots. 

The K900 spot, via AOR Santa Monica, Calif.-based David and Goliath, tries to affirm that, yes, an upstart crow can stake a claim in luxury without having the requisite coat-of-arms. "They say tradition and heritage are what makes a luxury sedan,” the voiceover says. “But is that truly the case? We invite you to come to your own conclusion."  

As the ad seems to suggest, there are going to be a lot of experiential elements to the campaign, the company affirms. And it will also comprise digital, print, social media and CRM. 

“Kia has always been willing to challenge the status quo, and with next year marking our 20th anniversary in the U.S., we are making our boldest statement yet and redefining what the Kia brand stands for with the launch of the K900,” said Michael Sprague, EVP marketing at the Irvine, Calif.-based automaker. 

Kia launched the Cadenza in June this year at about $35,000. At the time, Tim Chaney, director of marketing at Kia Motors America, made it clear that he intends to go head-to-head with the luxury brands' gateway vehicles like Lexus ES, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. The automaker reports having sold 913 Cadenzas last month for a total of 7,782 for the year. It hasn’t stated sales targets for the K900, but its sticker price puts it right in the mix against BMW 5-Series, Audi A5, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, among others. 

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