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Another sedan bites the dust. On the heels of us telling you about the demise of the Mitsubishi Mirage last week comes word that Kia is killing off the subcompact Rio sedan. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as Hyundai already said goodbye to the similar Accent sedan last year. But it continues the sorry trend of affordable sedans falling by the wayside, and in this case, one that is way under $20,000. 

Though neither the 3-Series BMW nor Toyota Camry are sub-compacts, you have to question how they continue to see such strong sedan sales. Yet the more affordable ones are biting the dust. And the same can be said for Honda and Nissan, too.

Was the Kia Rio sedan selling poorly?

White 2023 Kia Rio sedan
2023 Kia Rio sedan | Kia

As Automotive News points out, pickups, SUVs, crossovers, and minivans were 79% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. last year. The Kia Rio was one of that statistic’s victims last year as sales fell 14% to just under 27,000. So that’s one big reason for the discontinuation.

Another is that Kia already has plans for the Rio’s assembly plant in Monterrey, Mexico. It plans on using the plant to manufacture two forthcoming EVs. Does that mean Kia is eyeing its other Mexican sedan plant? It makes the Forte there, too.

Is the Kia Rio still a sub-$20,000 sedan?

Blue 2023 Kia Rio sedan
2023 Kia Rio sedan | Kia

But the difference is that the Forte still sells well. Sales are up so far in 2023, with over 73,000 sold so far. The Forte is Kia’s compact/medium size sedan, having first sold here in 2009. The Rio has been around since 1999.

But besides the difference in size, the two were many thousands of dollars apart. In fact, the Rio has a base price of $16,750, though we doubt it sells too many of these. For instance, an LX is right at $20,000 and is anecdotally what we see the most sitting on dealership lots. Or is it that the base Rios sell out as soon as they hit the lots? 

What sedans are left?

Red 2023 Kia Rio sedan
2023 Kia Rio sedan | Kia

Anyway, with the death of the Rio as well as the earlier announcement of Kia killing off the Stinger after this year, the Korean manufacturer is left with just two sedans. Those are the K5, formerly called Optima, and the Forte. But the death of the sedan is only beginning.

Both Kia and Hyundai are planning on dropping the rest of their sedan lineups after 2024. Gone will be the Hyundai Elantra and Accent sedans. The same goes for the Kia Forte and K5. And don’t forget, post-2023, the Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Chrysler 300 sedans will be gone. 

Of course, there are always the steadfast Honda, Nissan, and Toyota with their continuing sedan success, not to mention the German brands. 


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