This won't be a rebadged Hyundai Santa Cruz, though.
According to a report from Australian publication Drive, Kia held a confidential briefing with dealers to inform them that a new double-cab pickup truck will hit showrooms in 2025. The dealers have reportedly been told to expect a "genuine and serious rival" to the likes of the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger. That's a very tough ask, as these offerings have been the country's best sellers for the past six years running, but it seems that Kia is doing its due diligence, as the project has been in the works since 2020, suggesting that Kia will not be launching a speculative product but one that can be genuinely worthwhile in a very competitive segment.
The same report claims that the as-yet-unnamed pickup - being developed under the internal code 'TK' - will match the towing and hauling capacity of the best-selling pickups, but what engines will be offered remains to be seen. An electric variant may also be in the works, possibly arriving on the same heavy-duty ladder-frame chassis that this new pickup (in combustion-powered form) will debut.
The pickup has been previously spied covered in camo but appears to feature a rugged design based on the body-on-frame Mohave SUV sold in foreign markets.
Things look promising, but we're cautious about Kia's prospects for success. The truck market is very different than other cars, and buyers tend to be loyal to a brand. Evidence of this can be found in sister company Hyundai's impressive Santa Cruz, which was introduced with stylish looks and clever design ideas, yet is being comprehensively outsold in America by the Ford Maverick, which arrived much later.
Convincing Australians to part with their trusted Fords and Toyotas to try out a new Kia will be quite the challenge.
As tough as things will be for the brand in Australia, we think it would be even more difficult to make a success of a Kia pickup in the US - at least initially. Brand bias, xenophobia, and other prejudices suggest that this may not be the market for a new South Korean truck, but if anybody can convert hardcore truck fans, it's probably Kia.
The brand has transformed its image in recent years and is now seen as a relatively affordable haven of reliable and generally excellent cars - recent Tik-Tok-inspired thefts of outdated cars notwithstanding.
If Kia can make a great vehicle and prove that it can handle the grueling Australian Outback, Americans may just begin to clamor for it in the same way they do the HiLux and other formidable forbidden fruit.
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