Here is the official press release from Kia (pretty much in its entirety), "Kia Motors America will reveal a new concept car at the 2014 North American International Auto Show. Conceived at the automaker’s U.S. design studio in Irvine, CA, this stunning 2+2 sports car is intended to turn heads while delivering superb driving enjoyment on both road and track."
England's AutoExpress probably has the best insight into what might be coming to Detroit on Jan. 13 at the Kia press conference. It said, "… although it's shrouded in shadow and viewed from above, it is clear that this new concept will take some inspiration from the Kee concept - which was shown over six years ago at the Frankfurt show, but sadly never reached production. t should have decent performance, and is likely to be powered by something a little more potent than the 197bhp 2.4-litre V6 that sat under the bonnet of the Kee concept all those years ago."
AutoExpress does a great job picking up details from the photo that other websites missed. A long bonnet, dramatically sculpted wheel arches and a big wraparound windscreen are all clearly visible, and the short tailgate and short wheelbase give it classic sports car proportions. Neither the front or rear light clusters are visible, but there is a sliver of front light and indicator showing on the right hand side - and the angular design and curved front-end both show hints of the Audi R8 in the design.
MotorTrend is speculating the new Kia may share the underbits of a Hyundai Genesis. I'm hoping that would be the 2015 Hyundai Genesis coupe set to debut at the New York Auto Show in April. Motor Trend reported, "The concept, designed at Kia’s Southern California design studio, may share its underpinning with the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Kia isn’t new to rear-drive sports car concepts: the Kia Kee coupe concept was shown in 2007, while the Kia GT four-door coupe concept shown at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show sported a sleek profile and rear-hinged hind doors.
But then MotorTrend hedges its prediction a little bit by saying it could be a Hyundai Veloster wrapped in Kia clothing. "The upcoming Kia 2+2 sports car concept could just as easily be based on the front-drive Hyundai Veloster three-door hatchback or even an updated version of the Kia Provo concept shown at the 2012 Chicago auto show. While that model appeared to be influenced by the Kia Soul, it was only slightly larger than the Mini Cooper Coupe. However, the car's proportions seem to hint at a genuine sports car in this top-view teaser shot."
At Edmunds.com, the view is, "… the Korean brand continues its march away from a bargain-basement image. A single teaser image of the car taken from overhead shows curvaceous proportions. No technical specifications have been provided at this point."
Over at Motor Authority, here's their thinking, "The new concept won't be Kia's first attempt at a stunning sports car concept. The GT Concept, shown in 2011, evidenced the brand's ability to envision a handsome sports car. Despite rumors that the GT would enter production by 2013, however, nothing has materialized just yet. The GT Concept, unlike the car announced for NAIAS, isn't a 2+2--it has four doors , the rear being suicide-style--but it could be reinterpreted as a smaller, more compact 2+2 coupe.
There's further speculation from AutoExpress that this concept is a signal of Kia moving towards being sportier and targeting a younger buyer. But is that the right move with Kia's sales being fairly stagnant in the U.S. in 2013 (while other brands are seeing big increases)? Let's hope Kia thinks it's the right move because that gives the concept a better shot at going into production.
The real challenge is going to be getting the Koreans to give the green light on this concept. As mentioned above, the company has introduced some stunning concepts that have not move beyond the auto showroom floor.
Jan. 13 is not that far away. We'll keep you posted on the latest news from the Detroit Auto Show as we cover it live. In the meantime, your speculation on what this new concept might be are welcome in the comments below.