The very big and very bold Kia Telluride concept is now being developed for a market debut, a pair of senior executives have confirmed this week, and the Australian arm has its hand up.
In conversation with Australian press at this week’s Detroit motor show, the news was confirmed by Kia Motors Corporation president and chief designer Peter Schreyer, and Kia Motors Europe chief designer, Gregory Guillaume.
The North American market appears the likely target for the 5.0-metre long giant, whose 3081mm wheelbase is a whopping 302mm longer than that of the company’s largest current SUV, the Sorento.
As Volkswagen has determined for its new Atlas SUV, the North American market is more than large enough to make a case for the Telluride, but that could mean an exclusively left-hand-drive engineering program.
Asked if other markets would take the Telluride, Guillaume said Europe “doesn’t make much sense”, describing upper-large SUVs as a tough nut to crack in that region.
“I could imagine there’s other markets that would be interested in it, apart from America. The one we used to have before, the Mohave, was also pretty popular in Russia.”
Neither executive could confirm if right-hand drive is in the plan, but Kia Australia chief operations officer Damien Meredith is making it known he wants the big wagon down here.
“If it’s developed in right-hand drive, we’d look at it very seriously. We’re not sure whether that vehicle is going to be developed in right-hand drive, though. Until we have confirmation of that, that is pure speculation,” Meredith told us over a remote link-up from Australia.
“I think that if your portfolio of SUVs is empowered at the top end and at the bottom end, it’s going to be better for the brand and you give yourself more opportunities to sell more cars. So the answer to the question is, if it is developed in right-hand drive, and if it is available to the Australian market, we’d look at it very seriously.”
If launched in Australia, the Telluride would become one of the larger offerings in the volume-selling SUV class. The Mazda CX-9 would have its number on length, though, at 5075mm.