Dealers are laughing all the way to the bank.
The Kia Telluride continues to be a smashing sales success story for the South Korean automaker. A Kia spokesperson once even proudly called the three-row crossover to CarBuzz as the 'Selluride.' Launched for the 2020 model year, the Telluride's popularity in America has not at all diminished; it's only increased, despite the ongoing pandemic. Demand continues to dominate supply in many parts of the country and dealerships are taking full advantage of markups.
Just over a year ago, we reported instances of $10,000 markups found for the Telluride's corporate cousin, the Hyundai Palisade. And now CarsDirect has discovered Telluride markups have hit the same amount in some parts of the country.
One California Kia dealer requests customers to pay that premium for a 2021 Telluride SX with the Prestige Package. Its MSRP is already about $51,000. We now live in a world with $60k Kias. Of course, this particular dealer is not stating the markup on its website, making it a nasty surprise prospective buyers will soon encounter.
Markups are not a new phenomenon and automakers continue to discourage the practice but have no power to stop them since dealers are privately owned. But what's interesting with the Telluride is that markups are still happening nearly two years since first going on sale.
Buying a new Telluride, at least in the situation above, troublingly inches pretty darn close to luxury brand SUV pricing, such as the BMW X7. For example, leasing a new X7 xDrive40i, which carries a base price of around $80,000, can cost $889 a month for 36 months with $5,999 due at signing. This translates to an actual cost of $1,056 per month. To compare, a $60,800 Telluride with the $10k markup factored in can be purchased for $0 down on a five-year loan at 1.9 percent APR before taxes and other fees. That comes out to $1,063 per month - $7 more a month than the X7 lease.
The 2021 Kia Telluride begins at a very reasonable $31,990 for the base LX. AWD costs $2,000 and it's available on all four levels. Last year, a total of 75,129 Tellurides were sold, though the Forte was Kia's best-seller with 84,997 examples.