Kamis, 29 September 2011

Getting a Glimpse of Kia’s Future: IAA 2011 Review

Hello everyone, it has been quite some time since my last post on the Optima Hybrid test drive (http://kia-buzz.com/?p=7891). This time, I would like to take you through the Frankfurt Motor Show Press Day, which took place last Tuesday, and I had the pleasure of attending.
As most of you know, the Frankfurt Motor Show is one of the world’s five largest motor shows. The sheer size and importance of the show places it as one of the top three world motor shows along with the Geneva Motor Show and the Paris Motor Show. Like all motor shows, Frankfurt is where major automobile manufacturers reveal their latest models and which direction they are heading in for the future, but Frankfurt is special in that it has the largest exhibition space among the three international motor shows. This year, a total of 11 halls were provided, requiring more than two days to even just skim through all the car brands present. I was exhausted from all the walking and looking around whole halls.
The slogan for this year’s motor show was, “Future comes as standard.” It clearly emphasizes the fact that the future is here and now, and it certainly looked as if the slogan was true, as most of the brands were busy showing off their very latest technology. One of the technologies that every brand mentioned was ‘efficiency’. While engine capacity is becoming smaller and turbo charger is becoming a standard feature. Hybrid cars and more realistically drivable electric cars were also introduced.
Now, let’s get back to Kia.
Two hero products from Kia were the all-new Rio 3-door and the new sports concept car, the Kia GT. For the all-new Rio, the five-door model was introduced at the last Geneva Motor Show and the four-door sedan was shown at the New York Motor Show. Now the most recent version of the all-new Rio, the 3-door model, has been introduced with its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. You probably noticed that hatchback version of the all-new Rio have been revealed in the European market, while the 4-door sedan was introduced in the North American market. Needless to say, hatchbacks are more popular in Europe while North America still prefers sedan-like cars.
The all-new Rio in the European market also offers a Low Emission version and as you can see from the picture below, it proudly boasts a class-leading CO2 emissions figure of 85g/km on its side door.
In Europe, there is a tax break for cars with lower CO2 emissions so many car brands compete fiercely to provide drivers with clean diesel engine or hybrid options. This in turn reduces drivers’ expense to run their own cars and at the same time, is better for the environment in the long run.
Getting back to the motor show, Kia’s Press Conference had several interesting pieces of news. The first is Kia’s plan for new models in the future – it was announced that the brand will announce 20 more new models from 2011 to 2014.
I was indeed very curious as to what new models are prepared for Kia.
The second news was the announcement that the newest model of the cee’d will be available in 2012.
If you look behind the covered all-new Rio 3-door, you can see a design concept of the new generation of the cee’d. Look at it closely, because I’ll mention it again later on to prove an important point. A few of my colleagues who have already seen the prototype told me that the new model will blow people away with its very stylish design, and I expect many people to be pleasantly surprised as well.
The third news from Kia is that the Naimo, an electric powered concept car introduced at the last Seoul Motor Show, will be on sale from 2014.
Now I’m beginning to understand the show’s slogan about the future coming as standard. Pretty soon, we might have to get used to listening to the sounds of an electronic motor not the internal combustions engine.
Lastly, the Kia GT. GT stands for Grand Touring Car or Gran Turismo (Italian). It literally means a car that can take a driver from point A to point B comfortably at a fast speed. As Peter Schreyer announced, the Kia GT is a car that is redesigned and reinterpreted from popular GT cars in 1970s for Kia’s 21st century design code.
As expected, the GT prominently features the Kia signature grille on its front mask. Its luminous headlights is coiled stylishly with LED, and it is more likely that the GT will come with LED DRL (daytime running lights) like the Cadezna’s if it enters mass production. The carbon- based front bumper tip below the front grille gives an overall sporty image of the car. Also, the front wing part of the GT in front of the headlamp makes it look sportier. If there wasn’t those wings, the car’s design would have looked somewhat ordinary.
The front mask reminds me a particular Kia concept. Is there a model that you are reminded of?
For me, it’s the Kia KEE. It’s almost as if the GT is the result of the grown-up KEE and growing muscles. Specifically, the design elements of the “ㄷ” character around the headlamps have given the GT a new and interesting design language expressed as a front wing.
The rear design is very simple. The rear lights across the trunk are neither too big nor too small and provide perfect space for the Kia emblem and a number plate. Additionally, the rear diffuser and dual muffler reflect that the car is a high-performance sports sedan. While people may wonder how the trunk opens, that is a detail that has not yet been revealed. If the concept car hits mass production, it is likely that the trunk will be revamped to open practically.
Shall we take a look at the side view? The side view offers a complete look at the car’s proportions, and you can immediately tell that the GT has a long nose-short deck ratio. These types of proportions are only common on FR (front engine rear drive wheel) vehicles and are one of their unique characteristics. The roofline aims to provide an overall coupe-like feel. The GT has a similar roofline to the Optima Hybrid, which I test drove and wrote about in the past, but also features a gold garnish from the A-pillar to the trunk. This roofline garnish exudes an extremely luxurious feel and capture attention in just one glance.
The concise and straight beltline shows off Kia’s unique design identity. Suicide doors (where the front and back doors open in opposite directions) have been selected as the door design. The outside door handle gathers in one spot, allowing very simple surface look. Also passengers have a more pleasant entry way, particularly as there is no B pillar. The iconic wheel that embodies the propeller (made up of carbon fiber as decoration elements) and the carbon-fiber side skirt are also very attractive.
Another unique trait is the side mirror camera that replaces the side mirror. Although this feature is not that surprising, as it was also included on the Kia POP electric car concept, its location is very interesting. Doesn’t it have the same positioning as the side mirror of a 1970s car? That’s not all. The A filler’s triangular secondary windows follow the same design elements from popular cars of that time.
To put it simply, the Kia GT is a modern reinterpretation of a 1970s GT and shows pristine design elements that express a “modern yet antique” feel, although this phrase may seem paradoxical.
Remember how I said to keep the cee’d concept design in mind? Now take a look at the cee’d design and that of the GT. The front grilles’ appearance and the overall design are pretty similar between the two cars. The front grille is bigger than that on current Kia models such as Optima and Cerato/Forte. Optima and Cerato/Forte is the products which represent the current Kia design identity and Kia GT is not only just a concept car but represent the future Kia design direction with more streamlined and muscular appearance.
I’m also very curious as to how this concept car will be changed for mass production and when it will really be available.
As a last note, there was another car at the Kia booth at the Frankfurt Motor took my attention: the Picanto 3-door racing version.
It looks like the car that was seen at the Kia LOTOS Race 2011(2011 (http://kia-buzz.com/?p=7547), organized by Kia Poland. When you see its outer appearance, don’t you immediately want to start racing? Personally, I can’t stop daydreaming about decorating a Picanto like this and racing it along a circuit.
The rear appearance is also very sporty.
Even the interior of the car is reformed in order to lighten the weigh of the car. Don’t you just want to get your hands on that steering wheel? I do! Ha ha.
This ends my post about experiencing the Frankfurt Motor Show at the Kia booth. I hope to share more interesting news with you all next time. :-)
For those who happened to miss the press conference, check out the link below.

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