A large crossover based on the Kia Telluride concept has essentially been confirmed for production. Last week, Kia’s global design chief told Australian media that the company is already hard at work on that vehicle, and now another high-ranking exec says Kia will “have some announcements soon.”
Kia Motors America vice president of product planning Orth Hedrick made the remarks when asked by WardsAuto about a production Telluride. “Stay tuned for more details,” he continued. It’s unclear when the official announcement will be made, however.
Kia currently offers the compact Sportage and the midsize Sorento, which boasts three-row seating but not enough cargo space for some customers, according to Hedrick. The brand’s last large utility offering was the Borrego back in 2009. That model, which was a body-on-frame SUV with three rows of seats, was discontinued in the U.S. after just two years on the market.
“We see a growing need in our portfolio with buyers who are maybe in the second or third generation of Sorento and they need maybe a little more space,” Hedrick told WardsAuto in a recent interview. He suggested that older Sorento buyers may have “adult-size” kids, adding that “they usually have two or three friends and they have a lot of gear. Those buyers [with teenagers] don’t necessarily want a minivan.”
Despite the U.S. market’s appetite for crossovers, WardsAuto reports Kia’s light truck sales slid 6.9 percent, though a Kia spokesman attributed that to limited inventories for the Sportage and heavy competition for the aging Sorento. Regardless, Kia’s lineup could definitely benefit from another crossover offering. Sister brand Hyundai is also preparing a large crossover for launch in 2019, and as the two companies share research and development, a shared platform is almost guaranteed.
Though we don’t have an exact date for the Telluride announcement, Hedrick also let slip that a second-generation K900 premium sedan is on the horizon, hinting we may see it at the New York auto show in March. The decision to bring a second-generation K900 to the ‘States is surprising considering Kia only sold 455 copies in 2017, which is down from 834 units a year prior.