Stinger silence from NZ distributor

Australian openness about Kia’s exciting rear-drive sports sedan has not carried across the Tasman.


KIWI Kia fans wondering whether the Australian market strategy for the Kia Stinger will mirror that planned locally will have to keep conjecting.

Kia New Zealand has declined to comment about whether our neighbour’s specification, price and launch arrangements for the new V6 sports sedan have any bearing on its own plan.

There’s potential it might, simply because of the strong likelihood that the markets will share the car in common form.

But that’s for the Auckland domiciled distributor to know – and, for now, it apparently doesn’t want anyone else finding out, regardless that time could be short: The Australians have suggested their cars will be on the road in just six weeks’ time.

When approached to share his thoughts after the Australians revealed considerable detail about their intentions, Kia NZ boss Todd McDonald explained – via the brand’s public relations arm – that he could not offer any comment at present.

The big news across the Tasman is that the car will front there from October in three forms with the headline-making 3.3-litre bi-turbo V6 petrol - generating an exciting 272kW of power and 510Nm of torque for 0-100kmh in 4.9 seconds - and at least one model with an entry 190kW/353Nm 2.0-litre model and also driving through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

So far only the V6 prices have been announced.

Our neighbour’s entry-level S is priced from $A48,990 (all prices plus on-road costs), the mid-range Si from $A55,990 and the flagship GT, in at $A59,990 – at today’s rate, those stickers correspond to $52,836, $60,338 and $64,703.

How relevant are those direct conversions? Perhaps not fully, given that in the past McDonald has said previously that it would not be unreasonable to see the car place somewhere between $60,000 and $80,000.

That’s mainly Commodore sports model territory, though Holden starts off at $56,990 for the SV6, its most popular variant, that runs a 210kW engine. The SS and SS-V V8 sedans, which pack the 304kW V8, range from $64,990 to $76,490.

However, those prices will soon become moot – the big Holden ends production in the last week of October and, conceivably, local stocks will be exhausted by Christmas.

Kia in Australia says its strategy allows the Stinger to bring “the style, the refinement and the power usually available only to owners with substantially deeper pockets”.

 “It was critical for us to bring this car to as wide an audience as possible,” Kia Australia’s local chief operating officer, Damien Meredith, said in a release.

The Stinger features the second-generation of Kia’s electronic eight-speed automatic transmission, which offers up to five different shift and throttle programmes which drivers can select through the car’s electronic Drive Mode Select. It also has steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for those who prefer to shift manually.