The Kia Cadenza – a new model unveiled for the 2014 model year – gave Kia the large sedan its lineup lacked. Sharing a platform with corporate cousin Hyundai Azera, the Cadenza goes up against established large sedans such as the Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Avalon, and Dodge Charger. Kia is aiming high with the Cadenza, positioning it as a premium offering in the segment. As a result, it’s more expensive than many rivals, but offsets its price premium with an impressive list of standard features like wood trim, rain-sensing wipers, and a ventilated driver’s seat. Options are even more premium, including a snow-white leather interior.
Is Kia’s upmarket strategy for the Cadenza connecting with potential buyers in the class, or is it cannibalizing sales of its own products? To find out, we used exclusive CarsDirect cross-shopping data from the past three months to take a look at the top five vehicles currently cross-shopped against the 2014 Kia Cadenza.
(The percentages refer to the percentage of total Cadenza shoppers who also cross-shopped the alternate models listed. For example, 26.4% of buyers who shopped a Cadenza also shopped a Kia Optima.)
Kia Optima: 26.4%
Hyundai Genesis (Sedan): 15.2%
Honda Accord: 13.4%
Kia Optima Hybrid: 11.7%
Hyundai Azera: 10.3%
CarsDirect’s take: While the Cadenza appears to be capturing the attention of shoppers looking for something more upscale than a Honda Accord, our cross-shop data indicates that the Cadenza is mostly getting attention from shoppers looking at vehicles from within the Kia line-up, or those looking at vehicles from Kia’s corporate cousin, Hyundai. While these shopping patterns are likely helping keep large sedan buyers “in the family,” therefore salvaging some sales, it doesn’t appear that the Cadenza has built the mindshare necessary to appeal to shoppers of the established players in the class – yet. As more Cadenzas roll onto the streets and if Kia ratchets up advertising for the Cadenza, we wouldn’t be surprised to see these patterns change in the future.
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