Kia reveals how it plans to keep the momentum going with its award-winning SUV.
It is difficult to put into words how much of a success the Telluride has been for Kia, though the company's Director of Corporate Communications, James Bell, summed it up pretty well when he referred to the mid-size crossover as the "Selluride." The 2020 Kia Telluride recently showed its global appeal by winning World Car of the Year (despite not being offered in several European markets). Bell said, the vehicle "is continuing to be an absolute home run."
Speaking with CarBuzz, Bell explained that the Telluride is still sold out, and having gone on sale in February 2019, "it's still selling for over MSRP." He revealed that many customers are forgoing their preferred color choice just to nab one in inventory. Kia is obviously excited to carry some of this momentum into the upcoming 2021 Kia Sorento and keep those Telluride embers burning hot.
Judging from what we've seen from the Sorento's European debut, Kia could have yet another hit SUV on its hands. So what lessons have Kia learned from Telluride that could be applied to Sorrento?
"We learned on Telluride about the purity of its design, about its intention, and how it relates to people," said Bell, without specifically confirming the Sorento is coming to the US market. "There's a comfort factor. We want to continue that sentiment. That 'do anything, give it everything' approach with Sorento."
The Telluride's sales figures are even more impressive when you realize that the most sought after model by customers is the highest SX trim with the Premium Package. Bell said Kia noticed a similar phenomenon with the Stinger, which was initially expected to have around a 70-30 percent sales split in favor of the four-cylinder model.
"Very early on, our product planning learned that should have been swapped over [in favor of the V6]," said Bell. "We've even trimmed down some of the trim offerings on the four-cylinder turbo. There's just not as much action on the base model as there is on the six-cylinder."
"You never know where the point of resonance is going to be with the market," Bell went on to say of how past successes with higher trim levels might apply to future models. "We are going to position all of our vehicles with having more space on the upper end because the market is proving to be acceptive of those, as shown by Stinger and Telluride."
We also asked Bell if the Telluride's success in the higher trim levels might open up the possibility for a more luxurious trim level, similar to the recently rumored Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy.
"We've got an interesting update coming to Telluride," Bell hinted. "You will see it soon but it's more of an image play rather than up-marketing it at a higher price point. We love how Telluride's business is going. We want to keep it hot but not overextend it."
Based on our previous conversations with Bell, we believe he could be hinting at a more rugged version of the Telluride that could utilize a new X-Line moniker, which was first used on the Seltos X-Line Trail Attack Concept. We don't expect the Telluride X-Line to offer Jeep or Toyota TRD-Pro levels of off-road prowess, but it should look rugged and offer more capability than the standard model, much like the recently-revealed Volkswagen Atlas Basecamp styling package.