Right now, Kia products have different names in different markets. The new Kia Optima will likely be called the Optima here in Malaysia but in South Korea it is called the Kia K5, where it is joined by a larger vehicle, the Kia K7 (also known as the Cadenza).
According to an Automotive News interview with Hyundai Motor Co. Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun, Kia is considering extending this alphanumeric naming scheme to the US. According to Chung, alphanumerics can increase the strength of an auto brand, however Kia also understands that American buyers may prefer a car with a name.
Following this naming scheme, the Forte would likely be renamed the K3 in a country that used an alphanumeric scheme. Hyundai has also switched to alphanumerics in some markets – the Tucson is also called the ix35 for example, and the Sonata is referred to as the i45 in markets like Australia.
Would you prefer to buy a car called an Optima or a K5?