'We're looking forward to it. It's a segment that we're not involved in that's quite a good segment'
Kia is expected its sub-Sportage SUV, based on the SP Concept revealed in February, to be in Australia during September or October next year, plugging one of the major gaps in its range.
The SP, which hasn't been revealed in full, will be built in Korea for Australia, although variations on the model will be made in India for that market when production kicks off next year. It'll be partially developed Down Under, too.
"The other car we really want to get is that sub-Sportage SUV," Hepworth said. "We're looking at getting that at the end of next year, September/October next year is the plan for that."
"It's not a Kona, it's a Kia car," he later explained.
Naturally, Kia is excited to finally get involved in one of the hottest-selling segments on the market. Along with the Hyundai Kona, cars like the Mazda CX-3, Subaru XV, Nissan Qashqai and Honda HR-V are perennial strong sellers.
"We're looking forward to it. It's a segment that we're not involved in that's quite a good segment," Hepworth later added.
When it touches down, the SP – likely not its production name – puts Kia in an interesting position with the slow-selling Soul. Its future is "under consideration" at the moment but, given its sluggish performance, we'd suggest the Grim Reaper is already sharpening his sickle.
"It's not a car that's ever sold well in Australia," Hepworth said, in contrast with its runaway popularity in North America. He wouldn't be drawn on whether it'll be killed for good Down Under, though. Just that it's "under consideration"...
When it launches, the SP SUV will look a lot like the concept pictured here.
"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 Auto Expo 2018," said Peter Schreyer, design boss at Kia.