Hyundai and Kia may have separate product lineups, but the two Korean automakers are owned by the same company. But while the two companies have shared platforms and engines on most occasions, for some reason, Hyundai received a rear-drive platform and the impressive Tau V8 engines for its Genesis range while Kia was left out of the fun.
That could change with the introduction of the K9 sedan, which has been rumored to arrive in 2012, but does Kia have more plans for rear-wheel-drive and maybe even a V8 engine? The UK's What Car? is reporting that Kia is looking to get quite a bit sportier in the future, suggesting that the automaker will release a pair of rear-drive coupe concepts to gauge interest. The first eight-pot coupe will reportedly show up for duty at the Frankfurt Motor Show, followed by a second concept car at the Detroit Auto Show in January. If public opinion of the rumored concepts is strong, What Car? claims a production model could ensue for 2015.
What Car? also renews speculation that Kia is eying a competitor to the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The would-be roadster would be small and light, but importantly, it may not be rear-drive. Word is that the drop-top could utilize the platform of the next generation Cee'd. While we're all for another compact roadster, we'd add that in order to truly compete with the Mazda, rear-drive should definitely be part of the equation. Those with really long memories will recall that Kia has already experimented with small front-drive roadsters designed to take on the Miata – it briefly retained the rights to build its own version of the second-generation Lotus Elan (M100) back in the late 1990s.