The Kia Stinger has been dogged by rumours its parent will end production but it’s kept on ticking. But could its time finally be coming up?
However, it says a replacement of sorts – a sleek, electric four-door coupe – will be launched in 2025 to keep the sports sedan flame alive in Kia’s line-up.
CarExpert reached out to Kia Australia, which offered no comment on the accuracy of the report or the Stinger’s future.
While Auto Times notes Kia has discontinued models in the Korean market due to slow sales that have survived in other markets, such as the Soul and Stonic, it says Kia “plans to completely stop producing the Stinger”.
The Stinger entered production in 2017, and is therefore towards the end of a traditional Korean passenger car lifecycle.
It received a mid-life update in 2021 with cosmetic tweaks and more equipment, but a more powerful 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder didn’t make the trip to Australia.
While it’s had a burst of popularity of late in Australia – it’s set to post its best sales year yet – its performance in other markets have been unremarkable.
Sedans remain a hot commodity in South Korea but the Stinger – technically a hatchback – has become the brand’s lowest-volume model there.
Auto Times reports 1499 units were sold there from January to September, down 39.1 per cent on the same period last year.
It’s always been a niche player in Europe, despite the availability of a turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. But the Stinger arrived as diesels were losing favour and it never offered an electrified powertrain as Europe embraced these.
The European Stinger range has subsequently been pared back to just the top-spec, twin-turbo V6 GT.
It was never destined for greatness in China either, not being produced locally and therefore being subject to tariffs.
In the US market, which has a long history of embracing petrol-powered sports sedans, its sales have been steady if unspectacular, hovering around 13,000 units almost every year since launch.
It outsold the Volkswagen Arteon there last year but was outsold by almost every other medium or large car from a mainstream nameplate. The more affordable, Optima-replacing K5 outsold it by more than six-to-one last year.
Asked about the Stinger’s future in Australia back in June, Kia Australia’s chief operating officer Damien Meredith said, “The future on an operational level is fantastic.”
“We haven’t heard anything official from Korea on whether or not we’re going to a new model for Stinger or not so we’re just happy at the moment that we’re getting fantastic supply for the car and it’s doing exceptionally well in market.”
“We’ve made no secret that we think EV6 is our new halo product, from a tech and performance standpoint,” said Roland Rivero, the general manager of product planning at Kia Australia, noting the EV6 is also bringing new buyers to the brand.
“You’re always going to have ICE people that won’t ever want to flip, that are almost heavily against the flip to EVs. And Stinger is going to benefit from that for some time yet.”
Mr Rivero told CarExpert in May the company continues to work through plenty of Stinger backorders with “still a couple of months worth banked up”.
The flagship GT is accounting for over 90 per cent of sales, and with the death of the Chrysler 300 is the only mainstream-brand rear-wheel drive sports sedan on offer in Australia.
It’s also become a favourite of some Australian police forces, which have used it to replace the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.
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