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Kia wants to fill crossover gap

Niro hero: The Kia’s Niro concept from last year’s Frankfurt motor show was one of three crossover concepts Kia revealed in 2013.

Company’s president says Kia needs a sub-Sportage compact SUV

2 Oct 2014


KIA’S design chief and president Peter Schreyer has admitted the company has a gap in its line-up, with the absence of a B-segment compact crossover, but said the company was looking to filling it.

The South Korean car-maker’s current SUV offering is limited to the compact Sportage and much larger, seven-seat Sorento, but it has never offered a light SUV.

Speaking with Australian media at a pre Paris motor show event, Kia’s president and head of design Peter Schreyer said the segment is growing and that it was crucial for the brand to be a part of it.

“I think that the B-segment SUV is something that is a very important segment and important type of car coming up,” he said. “This is something I think we need to work on and we need to do something.”

When asked if a sub-compact SUV could borrow styling cues from the all-new Sorento, which makes its debut this week at the Paris show, he said that it should probably have more of a sense of fun than family hauler.

“I personally think it should be a bit more lifestyle than practical,” he said.

Mr Schreyer said the Soul hatch could prove to be a good base for an SUV, but did not confirm if a jacked up Soul was in the works.

“I think if we tried to make an SUV out of the Soul, lift it a bit, it would be a pretty cool car. I actually drove one (a Soul) the last three days or so and I was quite happy with it because also it stands out quite a bit.” “We are thinking about a lot of possibilities at the moment and that could be one. Smaller, not necessarily in footprint, but smaller in height.”

Kia has debuted a number of compact crossover concepts in recent years, indicating that it is seriously considering such a model and pointing to ongoing development work, however none have made it to production.

The Korean brand revealed three concepts last year, starting with the striking Provo concept from the Geneva motor show in March, followed later that month by the rounded Cub from the Seoul show, and ending in September with the menacing Niro concept from Frankfurt.

The lack of a small SUV in Kia’s line-up means the company is missing out on sales in a growing segment, and one that is up by more than 16 per cent in year-to-date sales here in Australia.

If Kia does introduce a compact crossover to sit under the Sportage, it would likely be pitched against the Nissan Juke, Ford EcoSport, Holden Trax, Peugeot 2008, Suzuki S-Cross and the forthcoming Renault Captur and Honda HR-V.

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