Hmmm, that doesn’t look much like a Kia, does it? But Kia is actually going to take on the Hummer with this new gnarly SUV. This was created for the South Korean military. But we doubt Kia spent the development time and money to make these military SUVs strictly for the troops. Will it be coming to the US? It says this is an “open-top all-terrain vehicle” that looks like a clean sheet deal but it is not.
Kia has developed this around its Mojave SUV platform
Kia says this has been developed around its Mojave platform. The Mojave was to have replaced the ill-fated Borrego in the US. You don’t remember the Borrego with the V8? That’s understandable since it only lasted a single year in the US. There were plans for a replacement down the road, but that never materialized. The closest Kia has gotten in the US is the Telluride.
So now we have an illustration of this military off-road trekker. Looking like nothing we would expect to see from Kia there are no crowned surfaces on the body. Instead, it’s flat, fabricated-looking panels somewhat like the first Humvee or the Toyota BXD10. Engineers are developing the off-roader right now with prototypes planned for 2021 and production to begin after the middle of 2022.
Kia says variations will be developed for different businesses
While the US may not get the version shown in this image Kia says variations will be developed for different businesses like industrial or leisure. Off-roading is a leisure activity, right? Kia also says it will use the vehicle to improve its portfolio of vehicles in general. That is exactly how the Humvee became the Hummer and the Toyota BXD10 became the Mega Cruiser.
Interestingly, Kia is also developing trucks for the Korean military separate from the images you see here. Both two- and five-ton trucks are being developed and they won’t share any passenger car components or platforms. A standardized platform is in the works with power coming from a 7.0-liter turbodiesel engine.
This SUV could lead to Kia getting into the half- and ¾-ton truck market
Kia is exploring hydrogen fuel cells, electric powertrains, and autonomous systems in conjunction with these heavy-duty trucks. But more important to US consumers is that by developing a truck platform for these applications the results could lead to Kia getting into the half- and ¾-ton truck market. It has done well in every segment it has entered and so why not tap the commercial and half-ton truck market.
The truck market provides many offshoots that can be spun from a basic platform just as GM, Ford, and Ram do. From RV conversions to light commercial applications like box vans and tow trucks can be satisfied by a ½-to five-ton chassis and cab. We’re talking a few years down the road but the military applications can dial in components and manufacturing for future consumer products.