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September 28, 2020

Could Kia PH Bring in the 2021 K5 from China?

With the Ayala-backed Kia Philippines now increasingly relying on the Korean automaker’s Chinese joint-venture for sourcing the of vehicles (the Soluto and Stonic are two examples), could something sexier like the all-new 2021 K5 be next on the table?

As a bit of a refresher, the K5 is Kia’s answer to the likes of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Known previously as the Optima, it has taken on this alphanumeric name when it was unveiled in December of last year. At the time, it was touted by Kia as “the greatest leap forward between generations than any of its predecessors.”

In the past, Kia Philippines has dabbled in the executive sedan market, bringing in Optima. However, it didn’t really fare well, saddled in part by prohibitive customs duties.

Well, that could all change this time around. 

Kia has a joint-venture in Mainland China through Dongfeng. And though Ayala was initially quick to dismiss that only the Soluto will be sourced from there, the benefits of the free trade agreement with China are just too hard to ignore. Case in point: the aggressive pricing of the upcoming Stonic crossover.

This brings us to this interesting bit of news. Kia has confirmed that the 2021 K5 will be built in China. The announcement was done at the executive sedan’s public debut at Auto China. Even more interesting is what’s under the hood. In other markets, the K5 is made available with either a 1.6- or 2.0-liter engine. In China though, the K5 comes with a 1.5-liter engine which means it easily qualifies for less than 5 percent customs duties if it were exported to the Philippines.

Marked with a 270T badge, this turbocharged engine makes 170 horsepower and 253 Nm of torque. It’s mated to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic which should return a manufacture-quoted 17.85 km/L. In addition, the Chinese market K5 comes with all sorts of niceties such as 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 7-speaker JBL sound system.

The price? In China, the 2021 K5 starts at just 161,800 RMB or about P 1.151 million, while a decently-speced version comes out at just 171,800 RMB or about P 1.22 million. Applying the same premium that Kia put on the Soluto and Stonic when it arrived here, we could be looking at a fully-loaded executive sedan for below P 1.7 million. This could certainly give the Japanese makes a run for their money, don’t you think?

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