Kia Will Launch a Small Crossover to Round Out Its Subcompact Segment

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
kia will launch a small crossover to round out its subcompact segment

Korean automakers desperately need more sport utility vehicles. Frankly, they should have had them 36 months ago when demand for crossovers began to explode. Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Kia Motors, has watched its sales dwindle after the post-recession buying boom cooled off and everyone started losing their appetite for small affordable cars. That poor financial performance has forced the Korean automotive group into austerity measures, reallocating funds for new vehicle projects aimed at getting customers back on its side — specifically with something riding an extra inch or two from the pavement.

During this week’s earnings report, Kia said it planned to launch a desperately needed sport utility vehicle for South Korea and Europe later this year. According to the company, the model would be a Rio-based subcompact “crossover utility vehicle.”

While overseas markets are top of mind for the automaker, they might not be the only ones receiving the mystery crossover.

Believed to be called the Kia Stonic in western markets — due to a trademark filing of the name first noticed by Just-Auto — the small crossover should go up against the Nissan Juke and Honda’s HR-V. While this also means it will be sharing a segment with Kia’s Soul and Niro Hybrid, cannibalization should be minimized by the Soul’s funky boxed styling and the Niro’s electrified powertrain.

The Stonic is expected to skip Geneva and debut at the Frankfurt auto show in September, likely bearing a strong resemblance to Kia’s Niro (above) and Chinese-market KX3 crossover.

Kia hasn’t confirmed a North American introduction, though several media sources claim that the model will eventually arrive on these shores.

[Image: Kia Motors]

Join the conversation
4 of 25 comments
  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 26, 2017

    "Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Kia Motors, has watched its sales dwindle" In the US, 2016 sales grew 35k units and US market share went from 7.9% to 8.1%. In 2012, their market share was 8.7%, so it dipped a bit since then, and is now better than last year. 2016 sales are up 160k units over 2012. So I guess the definition of 'dwindle' is flexible.

    • See 1 previous
    • Bd2 Bd2 on Jan 29, 2017

      Wouldn't be the 1st time alterna-facts have hit TTAC. What should have been written is that while Kia sales grew in 2016, there were tighter profit margins as Kia had to be aggressive about the prices of their car offerings (esp. for the Rio and Forte). Forte sales actually increased quite a bit over 2015, but that was due to added supply from Kia's Mexico plant.

  • Davefromcalgary Davefromcalgary on Jan 27, 2017

    That greenhouse. Nice. H/K has been one of the worst offenders with their CUV lineup of propogating the hideous and non-functional aero wedge and rising beltline. This thing looks great. Its not a market that interests me as a buyer but this aesthetic is much better than the current.

  • Rusty The panther platform is one of the greatest vehicles platforms ever produced. This author is a moron.
  • Bullnuke It may be awhile before these show up on US shores. The MV Fremantle Highway has just started demo/reconstruction in Rotterdam after the large fire when transporting its last shipment of electric Porsche products.
  • Fie on Fiasler Big, fast and thirsty does not equal good. True luxury is not cobbled together by the UAW.
  • Inside Looking Out I see it as gladiator races - only one survives in virtual world.
  • Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.