Kia to Replace Amanti in U.S.

Kia Motor Company plans to replace its under-performing Amanti sedan in the U.S. market with a new model, tentatively being called the Cadenza. No official launch date for the new model has been announced, but officials with the company say that they expect to roll out the new model sometime during the first half of next year.

Kia recently launched its redesigned Optima sedan, which is similar in size to the new Cadenza. Introducing the two models in such close succession has led some to speculate that they will compete for the same customers. Kia executives insist, however, that the models are targeted toward different buyers.

Speaking with reporters at the launch of the new Optima Turbo in Miami, Kia Motors America director of product planning, Orth Hedrick, admitted there could be some “overlap” but said, “In our mind, they’re aimed at two different buyers.”  Hedrick described the Optima’s target audience as mainstream buyers of mid-size sedans. He declined to characterize the target audience for the Cadenza.

Optima LX base models and the Optima EX midgrade models are currently shipping to U.S. dealers, and Kia plans to debut a hybrid version during the first quarter of next year. The hybrid Optima will be the first hybrid model offered by Kia.

Kia’s new Cadenza sedan is intended to compete with similarly-sized models including the Buick LaCrosse and Toyota Avalon. The Cadenza is already being marketed in South Korea as the K-7. It is slightly longer and wider than the Amanti, and the U.S. version is expected to feature a 3.5-liter V-6 engine.

The Cadenza is 196 inches long, slightly more than four inches longer than the Optima. Its 112-inch wheelbase makes it a mere two inches wider than the Optima.

Kia will also launch a slightly upgraded version of its Soul small crossover next summer and a redesigned Rio subcompact model in the fall.

Hedrick said, “This is absolutely the fastest product cadence that I’ve personally been involved with, and it just keeps coming.”

Since early 2009, Kia has launched six all-new or redesigned models and has seen its market share increase for three consecutive years. The Korean automaker recently invested approximately $1 billion in its West Point, Georgia production facilities where it plans to hire about 1,000 workers.

Kia, which has launched six new or redesigned products since early 2009, has increased its market share for three straight years. It also recently spent about $1 billion on a plant in West Point, Ga., where it is hiring 1,000 employees.

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