When Kia announced it was bringing the K900 to the to the market it wanted its new luxury flagship sedan to be seen on the same lofty level as a S-Class Mercedes or 7-Series BMW, including the dealership experience.
Well, some of the dealers are having some difficulty making the grade. In fact, according to an Edmunds.com report, only 30% of Kia dealers will be eligible to sell the K900 when it his showrooms in a few weeks.
Dealers wanting to sell the new marque ponied up $30,000 for specialized training and showroom display upgrades. The training is aimed at helping sales staffers relate all of the high-end features available on the new car: features not available on other Kia products.
However, less than a third have paid the fees.
“There was a business case behind it in terms of investing in training, investing in tools, investing in a showroom kit that we have put together to highlight the car,” said Michael Sprague, Kia Motors America’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, Michael Sprague, to Edmunds. “It is a significant investment for the dealer to make.”
The K900, which was originally sketched out in Kia’s California design center, comes to market with a strong, sleek design and is loaded with the latest technology, such as a Lexicon audio system, 9.2-inch touch screen and a full package of driver-assistance features. The car sits on a rear-wheel-drive platform with a 119-inch wheelbase and comes with a 420-horsepower V8 and an eight-speed transmission.
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While the K900 boasts a slew of equipment similar to that of an S-Class Mercedes or 7-Series BMW, it does separate itself in one measure: price. At $65,000, a fully equipped K900 is about $20,000 less than its German rivals.
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Getting the educated about the K900 is critical as the maker must persuade high-end buyers that the K900 is a worthy option. One of the keys will be to get them to take the car for test drive, Sprague told TheDetroitBureau during the press preview in early February.
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But the luxury segment is growing and the “second-tier” of luxury brands, such as Volvo, Acura, Infiniti, Lincoln and even Cadillac, don’t have that strong a grip on the emotions of potential customers, he said.