Go Big: Kia Telluride Getting Closer to Reality

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Last week we brought you a story about the Kia Telluride and comments made by company execs about its production chances. Hyundai-Kia chief design officer Peter Schreyer reportedly said, “For sure, we are working on that car” to a group of Aussie journos.

Now, WardsAuto is furthering the narrative, reporting that Orth Hedrick, Kia America’s product planning veep, told them the brand will “have some announcements soon” on a production version of the seven-passenger Telluride.

The seven-passenger CUV/SUV segment is a playground in which most manufacturers want to play. Now in its third iteration, Kia’s own Sorento offers three rows of seating but, in addition to its milquetoast styling, some buyers perceive it as not having enough cargo space. From the WardsAuto interview:

“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,” he says, noting an older Sorento buyer 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.”

Look, I get it. Minivans inherently have and always will have an image problems, despite being immensely practical and the most logical transportation solution for most families. Our crew just spent a week in a Pacifica Hybrid that sipped fuel and was sodden with thoughtful storage solutions, abundant electrical outlets, and a duo of screens on which we watched Jurassic Park and played Super Mario on a Nintendo Classic system. The kiddo loved it. I wore a bag on my head every time we left the driveway.

Kia’s minivan, the Sedona, plumbed the depths of the sales charts in 2017, falling 46.2 percent to just 23,815 annual sales. Combined, the Grand Caravan and Pacifica (yes, they are very distinct models but they are both FCA products) counted the sale of 243,470 units on their balance sheet.

A stern-looking seven-passenger machine might be just the ticket for stemming some of the downturn being experienced in Kia showrooms right now. With light trucks counting for well over half the market, both Sportage and Sorento sales were down in 2017. The smaller Sportage was off about 10,000 units to 72,824 machines sold, while the Sorento found 99,684 buyers compared to 114,733 the year prior. Scant inventory was blamed for the Sportage’s performance, or lack thereof, and the trucklet’s growing popularity in foreign markets won’t help the situation this year.

Is all this a prelude to Kia dropping a close-to-production Telluride at one of America’s auto shows this spring? We’ll be keeping a close eye on the Chicago and New York shows just to be sure.

[Image: Kia Motors]

Discuss this story on our Kia Telluride Forum

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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4 of 36 comments
  • APaGttH APaGttH on Jan 24, 2018

    Is this BoF? I had read somewhere that it was. If this is BoF and Kia/Hyundai have made the investment, it narrows the field of potential FCA buyers to...well basically no one (except Jeep, everyone wants Jeep)

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    • Bd2 Bd2 on Jan 29, 2018

      No. But Hyundai supposedly is laying the groundwork for a true pick-up (diff. from the Santa Cruz), which could in turn, be the basis for a BoF SUV down the line.

  • Fred Fred on Jan 24, 2018

    Do the new driving aids, can they "see" small fiberglass cars? I know their drivers can't and nothing scares me more than driving my Elan on the freeways of America.