Sedan sales have been on the decline for a while now. It’s why Ford doesn’t sell them anymore, and it’s also why you probably can’t remember the last time you saw something like a new Chevy Malibu or a Jaguar XF. Crossovers are it. Aside from a bit more room and being easier on the knees for older people, many have been (falsely) sold that a higher driving position means that they’re safer. It’s why the market is saturated with crossovers of every shape and size. Unfortunately, this has come at the cost of some good sedans. Case in point: Automotive News and other outlets report that Kia may be killing the K5 and Stinger.
It’s all due to sales, but this isn’t the slump you think it is. Hundreds of thousands of people still buy sedans. Over 920,000 were sold last year. But that’s down 14 percent from 2020. These automakers got so used to selling millions of these things that any and every dip means the world is ending to them. Kia still sold nearly 100,000 (93,342 to be exact) K5s last year. But that’s still a far cry from the annual six-digit sales numbers the Optima was putting up, especially in the mid-2010s. And the K5 has only been on sale for two years.
Nevertheless, the K5 might be on the chopping block. One industry analyst who spoke to Automotive News said he’d be surprised if the K5 isn’t discontinued with the Sonata. “I will be shocked if K5 doesn’t follow the same fate as Sonata. It is very likely you’re going to see the same trajectory of slow production declines over the next three to five years for the K5 until it is completely replaced by an EV.”
The Stinger is set to die as well, but much sooner — even though sales rose 10 percent in April of this year. Sources told Automotive News that the Stinger is expected to get the ax after this quarter which sucks. The Stinger was supposed to be the brand’s halo performance model, something that brought you in and made you take Kia seriously. With the Stinger gone, that role will apparently go to the top dog 320 horsepower EV6 GT-Line.
With the combined sales slump of sedans and the move to EVs, I’m not sure why it hasn’t occurred to these companies to just introduce EV versions of these cars. It would be easier to build on already-familiar name recognition with consumers rather than introducing an all new vehicle from the ground up. But automakers rarely do things that make sense. But c’est la vie. Stinger you’ll be missed.