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Opinion

‘The Kia EV9 is good enough to challenge Volvo, Audi and BMW’

As Kia moves upmarket with the EV9, the brand is in danger of becoming posher and more desirable than Genesis

Kia EV9 - opinion

Brand management is set to be one of the big battlegrounds in the car business over the coming years. The inevitable influx of brands from the Far East and elsewhere, with every one of those companies having to find a story to tell, will see the established auto makers having to vie to protect their positions and reputations. It’s going to be fascinating to watch.

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One of the ways existing car brands will try to protect themselves will be to move more upmarket – away from many of the new entrants, The added bonus will be selling models with higher margins if they get it right. If...

But managing groups of brands is going to be tricky. The Volkswagen Group has cleverly repositioned Cupra, yet that seems to be leaving SEAT withering. And Skoda and Volkswagen are set to move further apart, too.

Meanwhile, having spent a fair few days in Korea driving the hugely impressive EV9, talking to senior folk there and getting a sneak preview of some future product, I’m more convinced than ever that Kia is about to move up a league to challenge the likes of Volvo, Audi and BMW. The EV9 is certainly good enough to do that and, if we’re honest, the rest of the range is doing a pretty good job of being premium, too. It won’t take long for the brand image to catch up with the product.

But that leaves a problem for the Hyundai Group. Differentiating Kia from Hyundai is a good thing, yet Kia is in danger of becoming posher and more desirable than Genesis, the group’s luxury brand. Spotting a GV80 alongside an EV9 in Korea instantly made the previously desirable Genesis SUV look old hat. And the same applies to the posh brand’s other cars.

It’s a similar problem with Stellantis and DS, struggling to gain a real foothold among established premium players, while the likes of Peugeot get even posher. The battle for brand supremacy is going to be tough – and not everyone will survive.

Click here for our list of the best luxury SUVs...

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Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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