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Kia Bets on LeBron James to Sell More K900 Sedans

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Lebron James Kia K900

In an effort to sell more K900 sedans, Kia has entered into a marketing deal with ten-time NBA All-Star basketball player LeBron James.

James is now officially the Kia K900’s “Luxury Ambassador” and will star in advertisements for the premium Korean sedan. Apparently, it was him that reached out to Kia for the marketing gig, rather than the other way around.

“I was a Kia K900 driver and fan before we decided to become partners, so I’m really excited to be Kia’s first-ever luxury ambassador,” the NBA star said in a statement. “This partnership is about the power of great style and performance. Kia and the K900 are out to challenge conventional wisdom and show people how to think differently, and I can relate to that. For me, a partnership has to be authentic and real to who I am, and that’s what makes this one so special.”

RELATED: New Kia K900 Luxury Sedan Price Starts at $60,400 for 420HP V8 Model

As a car collector, LeBron James previously posted “Rolling around in my K900. Love this car!” online with photos of the sedan.

“Like Kia, LeBron James does not want to be confined by conventions or traditional definitions, and as our K900 Luxury Ambassador his star power will cause people to question everything they think they know about our brand,” said Tim Chaney, vice president of marketing communications, Kia Motors America.

The Kia K900 is Kia’s first-ever rear-drive luxury sedan and is targeted at “confident, independent thinkers who actively seek out new products and unique ideas from up-and-coming brands.”

Kia

New, 2019 Kia K900 Goes After S-Class, Wants To Be New Standard Of Luxury

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New, 2019 Kia K900 luxury sedan

With so much attention focused on it, you would think the Kia Stinger was Kia’s flagship model. Nope! That honor actually goes to the K900, and there is an all-new model that wants to set a new standard for luxury.

Aimed at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Lexus LS and other premium full-size sedans, the new K900 seeks to garner more attention for a nameplate that most people seem to have forgotten. It is wrapped in a more sophisticated exterior that Kia describes to be more dignified and sophisticated than the outgoing model.

The minimalist designed interior is even more upscale than before, featuring high-quality materials like metal veneers and open pore matte wood trim, more soft leather upholstery, and a full range of safety and assistance technologies. Drivers are treated to a 12.3-inch infotainment system and tactile dial on the center console and an optional 12.3-inch digital display for the instrument cluster.

The 2019 Kia K900 is powered by a 3.3L twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a standard full-time Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control all-wheel drive system that, although rear-biased, can send up to 50 percent of torque to the front wheels. In Sport mode, up to 80 percent of the power can be sent to the rear.

A longer wheelbase and wider stance are said to provide improved control and stability, while stiffer torsional rigidity further elevates its “premium on-road feel.”

Apparently, the new Kia K900 has been completely reimaged with “only its name” carrying over, and for good reason. The first-generation K900 didn’t sell well (LeBron James couldn’t save it), with US sales declining steeply from a peak of around 2,500 in 2015 to only 455 units in 2017.

North American sales are expected to begin in the second quarter of 2018.

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Geneva Motor Show

Kia Rio GT-Line Brings More Attitude To Rio Lineup

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New Kia Rio GT-Line hatchback

Kia has injected a dose of attitude in its Rio subcompact hatchback, giving us the Kia Rio GT-Line.

As a slightly sportier version of the Rio, the new Kia Rio GT-Line further expands Kia’s lineup of GT models in Europe, which includes the Sportage GT , Picanto GT and Sorento GT. It features a gloss-black and chrome ‘tiger-nose’ grille, standard LED daytime running lights, ‘ice-cube’ LED fog lamps, chrome window trim, unique 17-inch alloy wheels, twin exhaust tips, and a gloss black roof spoiler.

Inside, one finds a new ‘D-cut’ leather steering wheel and seats finished in a combination of black synthetic leather and cloth with contrast grey stitching, new metallic trim on the door switches and gear lever, and a new carbon fiber effect finish on the dashboard.

The Rio GT is powered by a 1.0L three-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission, producing 118 horsepower and 126 lb-ft. of torque. That’s not quite as much as you’d find in the similarly-sized Ford Fiesta ST, VW Polo GTI and Renault Clio RS, but it is an improvement.

It is also offered with the regular Rio’s 1.25- or 1.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines, but they pack less power — 83 and 98 hp, respectively — and are paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The Kia Rio GT goes on sale in Europe in spring 2018. It remains to be seen whether Kia will offer a proper performance version of the little hatchback.

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Detroit Auto Show

New, 2019 Kia Forte Gets Stinger DNA, New Tech, Better Fuel Efficiency

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New, 2019 Kia Forte sedan

The Kia Forte has received an onverhaul, getting an infusion of Stinger DNA for the North American masses, new and better tech, and better fuel-efficiency.

Unveiled at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the all-new, 2019 Kia Forte is both sportier and more sophisticated in appearance than the previous model, thanks to several styling cues clearly inspired by the Stinger sports sedan. Kia’s designers ditch the cab forward look for a fastback-like shape with a longer hood and short rear deck and pushed back the cowl point five inches. Astute observers will also notice the redesigned headlights, a more aggressive lower bumper and pronounced hood creases.

The new Forte has grown overall size, with its length increasing by 3.2-inches to 182.7 inches, improving legroom and truck space as a result. It’s also half an inch taller and a tad bit wider.

New, 2019 Kia Forte sedan, interior

In addition to offering more room for driver and passengers, the interior comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen that’s easy and comfortable to navigate, featuring a little shelf to rest your palm on and Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatibility. A wireless charging tray is optional.

The Forte is also available with a suite of safety features like lane-keeping, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, with forward collision avoidance as standard.

Under the longer hood is a 2.0L four-cylinder that produces 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft. of torque, mated to either a six-speed manual or Kia’s new Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT), which is a CVT with a fancier name. The 2.0L and the IVT transmission are expected to get a 35 MPG combined rating, 3 MPG better than before.

The new, 2019 Kia Forte goes on sale later in 2018. From what you see and know, how do you think it compares to the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and other compact sedans? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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