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Abstract

The objective of this case study is to analyze how effectively KIA K5, which is a leading mid-size car brand, has positioned itself into the mid-size car market. Before KIA launched the K5, Sonata and SM5 were the leading brands in the mid-size car market. They had loyal customers who like their similar images. As many competitors keep launching new brands or new designs into the car industry, Sonata and SM5 were pressured to introduce new versions. But, the YF Sonata and the New SM5 failed to catch up with the new trends in the market. Whilst YF Sonata was perceived as too innovative, the New SM5 was treated as an old car by the target customers of the mid-size car. While the two leading brands struggled to attract customers, KIA K5 found a new market space by identifying and focusing on the lucrative replace and up-grade demand segment and filling the gap between the current product category values and the emerging mid-size car category values. The K5 found the right values that customers need and successfully articulated the values to the customers. This case study illustrates that a successful positioning strategy can be effectively employed to attract customers in the saturated car manufacturing industry. This case can be summarized as the successful positioning strategy of KIA K5 is comprised of four primary pillars: design innovation, market analysis, STP (segmentation, targeting, and positioning), and launch strategy. The KIA K5 case study provides valuable insights and implications for many other companies that are planning to find a proper positioning strategy for their own business.

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