Farewell to an Icon: The End of the Road for the Kia Stinger in Australia
In a bittersweet moment for automotive enthusiasts, the final Kia Stinger destined for Australian roads has bid farewell to showroom floors, leaving behind a legacy of performance and style. The iconic sedan, which made its mark with around 11,500 deliveries over seven years, has officially reached the end of its production cycle, with no successor in the pipeline.
The Australian Love Affair with the Stinger
The Kia Stinger, though not as globally dominant as expected, found a warm reception in the Australian market. Despite facing challenges in its primary market, North America, the Stinger became a relative success down under, capturing the hearts of enthusiasts with its powerful performance and sleek design. Roland Rivero, Kia Australia's general manager of product planning, expressed his sentiment, saying, "I'm a fan of the Stinger. I see them on the road ... Damien and I talk about how we wish we bought one and just held onto it to see what its value becomes in this electrification future that we'll have."
Global Challenges and Decline in Sales
The decline in the sales of large sedans globally has impacted the fate of the Kia Stinger. While it recorded its best annual sales globally in 2018 with approximately 33,000 units, the numbers dwindled to 21,700 sales in 2021 and around 15,000 cars in 2022. The challenging landscape, with Europe shifting towards CO2 regulations and electrification, coupled with the Stinger falling short of expectations in North America, contributed to the decision not to pursue a second generation.
Australian Success and Police Recognition
Australia, however, saw the Stinger shine, especially in its best sales year in 2022 with 2,242 deliveries reported. The sedan arrived in the country just weeks before the final V8 Holden Commodore rolled off the production line, marking a significant chapter in the Australian automotive landscape. The Stinger found a place in the hearts of Australian drivers, even earning recognition from law enforcement agencies such as the Queensland Police and other jurisdictions in the Northern Territory, who saw its potential as a highway patrol car.
Legacy of the Kia Stinger
Despite its global challenges, the Stinger's legacy in Australia remains one of success and admiration. About 90 percent of Stingers sold in the country were the twin-turbo V6-powered GT versions, boasting performance levels and prices comparable to the final Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore sports sedans. As Kia bids adieu to the Stinger, the industry reflects on the impact of this sports sedan, leaving a void that enthusiasts hope will one day be filled by a worthy successor.
While the final Kia Stingers have found their homes, the memories of this powerful sedan will continue to linger on Australian roads, symbolizing an era of performance and style that captivated the hearts of drivers across the country.