Kia Touts Stop-Start Package, But Pushes Back Intro Yet Again

The auto maker’s own stop-and-go technology was due to launch in the U.S. on several compact cars, but it was postponed for improvements after media test drivers found fault.

April 5, 2012

2 Min Read
Kia says 500 price for optional ISG system on Rio above Soul to include other fuelsaving technologies
Kia says $500 price for optional ISG system on Rio (above), Soul to include other fuel-saving technologies.

NEW YORK – Ford plans to charge $295 for stop/start technology in its next Fusion, but Kia says the expected $500 asking price for its stop-and-go system will include other fuel-saving technologies.

Kia plans to offer low-rolling resistance tires and other features packaged with its integrated ISG system, Orth Hedrick, director-product planning for Kia Motors America, tells WardsAuto on the outskirts of the auto show here.

The auto maker’s ISG system was due to launch in the U.S. on the ’12 Rio subcompact and Soul compact cars. However, after media criticism of the system following test drives of the cars – including some reviewers who experienced an obvious shock when the engine shut down – Kia engineers decided to postpone the launch until improvements can be made.

Kia said in January that Rio and Soul models with the optional ISG would appear at U.S. dealers at the end of the first quarter. “It is a new technology, (and) we want to make sure it’s giving consumers the experience they would expect,” Michael Sprague, vice president-marketing for Kia Motors America, told WardsAuto in an interview.

Hedrick now says the ISG technology’s introduction still is a few months away and may appear in the ’13 rather than ’12 model year.

Stop/start, which automatically stops a vehicle’s engine at idle, then restarts it automatically when the driver’s foot moves off the brake pedal, is one of the latest tools auto makers are employing to improve city fuel economy in their vehicles.

Stop/start commonly is used by European auto makers, even appearing on premium brands such as Porsche, but is just starting to catch on in the U.S.

BMW recently brought stop/start here in its Z4 roadster and new-for-’12 3-Series sport sedan. However, it also has been subject to media criticism, including a Consumer Reports magazine blog site, for transmitting vibration into the sedan’s cabin.

At an April 3 event introducing its new Cayenne diesel model, a Porsche official told WardsAuto stop/start was left off the menu of technologies for the vehicle in the U.S. for fear customers would receive it poorly and impact the auto maker’s standing on third-party consumer-quality surveys.

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