Can Kia crossover into the luxury SUV market?

KIA teased the new car during its 2016 CES press conference.

AFP Relaxnews| Updated: Jan 07, 2016, 13:17 PM IST
Can Kia crossover into the luxury SUV market?
Pic Courtesy: AFP Relaxnews

At this month's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Korean automaker KIA will be revealing the KCD12 concept, a vehicle that showcases a new, stronger design laungage and a stronger emphasis on delivering luxury and advanced technology as well as reliability.

And although it is just a concept, it is understood that it will very closely preview a real-world production counterpart aiming to drive into the higher echelons of the full-size SUV market in North Amercia, as well as its native Korea.

Teasing the new car during its 2016 CES press conference, KIA said the car would signpost a new stronger, more confident design language that will eventually percolate through the company's entire range and that in terms of creature comforts, the KCD12 would boast "state-of-the-art health-and-wellness technology."

And technology is something in which KIA is investing heavily. It is establishing a standalone brand -- Drive Wise -- dedicated to creating next-generation safety and active driver assistance systems and, like all of the big carmakers at this year's Las Vegas event, the company used its CES stand as a platform for promoting its vision of the self-driving vehicle of the future and the strides it's already taken towards achieving it.

"Kia is undergoing a very promising and gradual process of introducing partially and fully autonomous technologies to its vehicles. Although the first marketable fully-autonomous car from Kia will not be available in the immediate future, the work our R&D teams are currently doing to develop our range of Drive Wise technologies is already improving on-road safety and driver assistance. The innovations presented at this year's show demonstrate the future direction we are taking," said Tae-Won Lim, Senior Vice President, Central Advanced Research and Engineering.

These technologies include autonomous highway driving; autonomous emergency braking; and traffic jam and parking assist features. They will come together to offer a partially autonomous production car by 2020 -- the same deadline that the rest of the automotive industry is targeting -- but KIA is being slightly more realistic about when full autonomy will arrive: 2030.

As for the KCD12 concept, it will be revealed in the flesh on January 11.