Kia's local arm wants more influence on the cars being brought Down Under.
Kia has confirmed that it will launch a new sub-Sportage compact SUV within the next 18 months, and Australia is likely to play a role in its development.
While the car is yet to be named, it's expected to look similar to the Kia SP Concept revealed at the 2018 Delhi motor show. Kia's global design boss, Peter Schreyer, confirmed styling elements from the sub-Sportage SUV revealed on the subcontinent will appear on the production car – how many of them remains to be seen.
"It’s still a concept – so it’s a little bit exaggerated – but the actual production car will be very close to what you see here at AutoExpo 2018,” Schreyer said of the concept.
Our role within the development of new models destined for our market continues to grow, with Kia Australia confirming its role within the development process of this particular model will stretch beyond just tuning.
According to Damien Meredith, Kia Australia chief operating officer, we'll have a "fair bit" of involvement in the process.
"In regards to set up and localisation, the farther you can go into the product cycle, the better it is for us and we now with Graeme Gambold [Kia's local tuning expert] that they like his counsel and what he's got to say and his experience," Meredith said.
When asked whether Graeme and his team would soon be behind the wheel of the new SUV in Australia, Meredith was confident the time isn't too far away.
"He will, probably soon, very soon," Meredith said.
Kia's ambition is to take as broad a range of products in Australia, with the goal of offering the consumer as much variety as possible.
"We would love to have a small SUV, we'd love to have a bigger SUV and a full range of light commercials. The reality is we don't. We've got to go into business with what we've got and what's coming," Meredith said.
Do you think it's about time we started to see more work on a dual-cab Korean ute for the Australian market? And, would you buy one at the right price?