Could this be Korea’s saving grace?
A year has already passed since Kia pulled the wraps off of the Telluride Concept at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show and blew the audience away with the prospect of a jaw-dropping SUV coming from South Korea. Thankfully, it appears that the struggling automaker actually wants to build it, at least according to an interview Wards Auto held with Orth Hedrick, Kia's vice president for product planning. This is welcome news for an automaker that saw SUV sales slip in 2017, an oddity given the current popularity of the segment.
According to Hedrick, Kia will "have some announcements soon" in regards to a production version of the Telluride, which should hit the market as a seven-passenger SUV and go up against competitors like the Volkswagen Atlas. "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," says Hedrick. He mentioned how these older Sorento owners may have teenage kids who are "adult-size persons…and they usually have two or three friends and they have a lot of gear. Those buyers (with teenagers) don't necessarily want a minivan." In order to bring the Telluride to market, quite a few changes will need to be made to the concept.
When it hit the stands at Detroit, it featured suicide doors and a futuristic interior that combined a traditional Kia steering wheel with modern design elements somewhat reminiscent of the Cadillac Escala Concept. The Telluride Concept also sat only four occupants in luxury rather than the intended seven, but if Kia could do everything in its power to retain the gorgeous exterior dimensions, it would provide prospective customers with more than enough reason to turn their heads toward the Telluride on the road and at the dealership. Though Kia has yet to make an announcement, global design chief Peter Schreyer has already told various media outlets that the SUV has a green light for production. Will this be what saves Kia?