Kia to Kill the Cerato Nameplate

With the upcoming generation of the compact car, which is expected to launch in 2024, Kia intends to discontinue the use of the Cerato nameplate.

As part of the strategy to give all new-generation Kia passenger cars alphanumeric designations beginning with ‘K’ and consolidate the company’s small-car lineup as sales decline amid the ongoing boom in SUV sales, the Cerato, which is also sold as K3 in South Korea & China, and as Kia Forte in select markets, will now go by the K4 moniker globally.

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The current-generation Kia Cerato/ Forte

The next-generation model has already started to appear as camouflaged test mules as the South Korean automaker prepares for an official unveiling somewhere during the first half of 2024. While it may appear more sensible to use South Korea’s K3 brand globally, the K3 badge will now be used on the successor to the smaller Rio, which was introduced in Mexico earlier this year.

Related: 2024 Kia K5/Optima Debuts in South Korea

Ho-Sung Song, the company’s global CEO, revealed this week at an international media conference in South Korea that all future Kia passenger cars will use the K-series naming convention. He said:

“At the brand re-launch in 2021, we set up our strategy for the naming structure of our models. For passenger cars, we’ll use the K family names – K3, K4, K5 – mainly for internal combustion-engined [petrol] models. For SUVs and MPVs we use the [full-name] product naming structure, usually using the ‘S’ and ‘C’ initials for SUVs and MPVs (Seltos, Sonet, Sportage, Sorento in SUVs and Carnival, and Carens in MPVs). For dedicated [electric vehicles], we use our EV naming system (such as EV6, EV9).”

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However, the K4 may also possibly replace the Ceed, the Cerato’s European market twin, with custom bodywork as a result of Kia’s decision to unify its compact passenger car lineup under a single global nameplate.

The camouflaged test mule of the upcoming Kia K4

Spy photographs reveal that the Kia K4 will be larger than the Cerato it replaces, in keeping with its new, larger number moniker. It is also anticipated that the K4 will use new underpinnings from the latest Hyundai Elantra sedan. Speculative renderings have also made it to the internet already, giving us a good hint of what to expect from the upcoming model.

Speculative renderings of upcoming Kia K4 (photos: The Drive)

It will pack a range of naturally aspirated and turbocharged choices in various engine displacements. Plus for the first time, a hybrid powertrain will also be included with the upcoming Cerato replacement. More details are expected to become available in forthcoming weeks, stay tuned for more information.

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