The rumors have been flying that Kia was planning to discontinue making the critically acclaimed Stinger sedan. Since it’s a relatively new model and well-received by car experts and sports car enthusiasts, this news has caused a fair bit of concern.
Fans of the sporty, stylish, and affordable fastback can take a breath—for now. The Kia Stinger isn’t going away anytime soon.
Going Head-to-Head with European Sports Cars
As performance sedans go, it’s hard to find a better value than the Kia Stinger. It’s got the sleek, sexy silhouette you find in pricey competitive models like the Audi or BMW. And the Stinger GT can give Porsches and Alfa Romeos a run for their money.
The Stinger was a shot of adrenaline for an auto brand associated more closely with sensible, affordable cars and SUVs. It debuted in 2017, and almost immediately, car experts sang its praises, and the Kia Stinger narrowly lost out to the Honda Accord as the 2018 North American Car of the Year.
After a Hot Start, Stumbling Sales
All of the critical acclaim has yet to result in big sales numbers for the Stinger. Pinpointing a reason for this is difficult because there are several factors at play, including the decline in popularity of cars and the COVID pandemic sending the industry into chaos.
Sales of sedans have dropped substantially over the past several years, with vehicle buyers overwhelmingly preferring SUVs and trucks. While performance sedans and coupes have their own niche market, the Kia Stinger is just beginning to gain a foothold.
And we can’t overlook the role that the COVID-19 pandemic has played in creating havoc, from supply chain issues to marketing strategy—choosing which vehicle production to prioritize and which to focus limited marketing efforts on has added additional layers of difficulty.
The fact remains that the Stinger came out of the gate hot, but sales quickly cooled. And that tends to make the bean counters and shareholders restless.
How Rumors Got Started
As early as April 2020, Korean Car Blog was reporting rumors of the Kia Stinger’s imminent demise, citing reports that the automaker wasn’t planning any engine or style updates. (https://thekoreancarblog.com/2020/04/20/2nd-gen-kia-stinger-could-get-the-axe/)
Then, in July, citing industry sources, Korean Car Blog reported that the Stinger was getting the axe. Kia had released production plans for its South Korean plants, including the Sohari plant, manufactured by the Stinger. Based on the interpretation of these plans, industry watchers concluded that Kia would discontinue the Stinger by Q2 of 2022 and pivot that assembly line toward the production of hybrid electric vehicles such as the Carnival.
Rumors of the Stinger’s Death are Greatly Exaggerated
In an exclusive interview with CarBuzz, Russell Wager, Kia’s VP of Marketing for the United States, denied that its performance sedan was on the chopping block.
“…we’re very happy with the Stinger’s sales. It’s not going anywhere,” he told CarBuzz during the 2021 L.A. Auto Show. “It’s doing exactly what we want it to be doing, and we see no reason for anything to change.”
Wager demurred when asked about future plans to discontinue production of the sport sedan, assuring people interested in the Kia Stinger that there is no reason to panic.
The Kia Stinger is here to stay—for now. So, if you’re on the hunt for a sleek, sporty sedan that dares to be affordable, head to your dealer and take one for a test drive.