Kia has launched a new small-car assault on the Chinese market with the introduction of the 2012 K2 at this year's Shanghai Motor Show. Based on the company's Rio, the K2 will be offered in both four-door and five-door configurations and should compete with other premium small-car offerings in the market. Kia says the vehicle is the latest in the company's efforts to better match products with local market tastes, and that the K2 was specifically designed inside and out for Chinese buyers. That means that the vehicle wears a new set of headlights and a slightly-altered grille among a few other minor aesthetic adjustments outside.
Under the hood, the Chinese take on the Rio rocks a variety of drivetrain options, including a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 107 horsepower or a 1.6-liter four-pot with 123 ponies. Both a manual and an automatic transmission option are available for both lumps, though Kia hasn't said how many gears are on hand.
Kia says that the company will begin producing the four-door K2 this July at a new facility in Jiangsu province. Five-door production will get under way the following month. Hit the jump for the press release, and stay tuned for the official launch of the U.S.-market Rio that's coming in very short order.
All-new Rio based model developed specifically for Chinese consumers
Local production to commence in June 2011
K2 represents next phase in Kia's localization growth strategy
(SEOUL) April 19, 2011 – Kia Motors and its Chinese joint venture, Dongfeng Yueda Kia, unveiled the K2 B-segment sedan today at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show. Based on the platform of the all-new Rio, which made its world premiere at this year's Geneva Motor Show in March, the new K2 was designed and engineered specifically for the Chinese market and will enter production at Dongfeng Yueda Kia's manufacturing facility in Jiangsu province starting this June. A 5-door hatchback of version of the K2 will commence production in August of this year.
K2 will be positioned as a premium small car with advanced styling and upgraded levels of quality and performance, and is expected to be a highly competitive offering in a segment that accounts for 17% of all new car sales in China.
K2 represents the next phase in Kia's strategy to better satisfy customers in various regions of the world by developing and marketing products that reflect local tastes and needs. Following the introduction of the cee'd family of C-segment vehicles and Venga B-segment MPV, which were designed and engineered specifically for European customers, the new K2 is a clear sign of Kia's commitment to become a leading automotive brand in China.
Speaking at the Kia press conference at the Shanghai Motor Show, Hyoung-Keun Lee, Vice Chairman of Kia Motors, said, "We are confident that this all-new model for China will provide the momentum needed for Kia not only to remain as one of China's fastest growing automotive brands but also to become a top 10 automaker in the local market in terms of quality and customer satisfaction."
While sharing the same technical underpinnings as the all-new Rio, the K2 has been completely redesigned for the Chinese market, drawing on styling cues from the popular K5 sedan (known as 'all-new Optima' in many markets), including sophisticated lines that create a dynamic, bold and sophisticated exterior appearance. The front view features Kia's signature "tiger nose" radiator grille and exudes a high-tech and bold image thanks to innovative fog lamp design, large air intake and dynamic swept back headlamps. A side character line, side air vent and trunk edge line add to the sporty image of the K2 while the rear view features a two-tone bumper and modern combination lamps.
The driver-focused futuristic interior conveys a spacious and comfortable feeling, and drivers will enjoy a 3-cylinder supervision instrument cluster, cloth lined door panels, leather steering wheel and TGS knob, and button engine start and smart key.
Measuring 4,370 mm (overall length) by 1,700 mm (overall width) by 1,460 mm (overall height), the K2 is longer, wider and lower than the previous generation Rio and boasts the longest wheelbase (2,570 mm) in its class. The expanded dimensions allow K2 to claim best-in-class interior space and ample luggage capacity of 500 liters (VDA). Space utilization is further enhanced thanks to the 60:40 split rear seat folding.
K2 will be available in six trim levels with either a 1.4-liter or 1.6-liter Gamma gasoline engine mated to a manual or automatic transmission. Both engines feature best-in-class performance and fuel efficiency, with the 1.4-liter powerplant delivering output of 107 ps while the 1.6-liter unit boasts 123 ps. Fuel efficiency for the 1.4-liter K2 equipped with manual transmission is 6.1 liters/100km (6.5 liters/100km for A/T) while the 1.6-liter K2 with automatic transmission (1.6 available only with A/T) consumes 6.4 liters/100km.*