The Kia Telluride has seen its fair share of success since it first debuted last year. With its rising popularity, many may have wondered how a Korean brand that was barely on anyone’s radar a decade ago can produce a crossover SUV that is now on the top of every prospective buyer’s shopping list. And while it would be easy for Kia to focus solely on their “race-winning horse,” they assure us that they’re going to take what they have learned from the success of the Telluride thus far and use it on the rest of their lineup, including the sedans.
A well-balanced future
While still brimming in the light of the Telluride’s achievements, Kia is banking that it now knows the secret sauce in making their products successful. Kia’s Director of Corporate Communications and Social Media, James Bell, recently spoke with CarBuzz on the subject stating, “We’re not backing off any sedan product for sure. The driving experience between the crossover-type vehicle and the sedan type vehicle especially when you have someone like Albert Biermann (head of Hyundai R&D and former BMW M chief engineer) in your stable can be pretty remarkable.”
Bell then went on to discuss the Telluride, stating, “One of the reasons why the Kia Telluride has done so well is because people love the look of it. And then they drive it and realize for a large crossover it feels very coordinated. Not overly athletic like a BMW X5 M. It’s not that extreme. But you can enter a highway off-ramp a little faster than you should, and it’s OK. The car can handle it. Having that athletic feel and the visceral connection is something we’re going to see emphasized and amplified in our future sedan offerings.”
It seems that Kia’s product strategy is aimed at providing a well-balanced driving experience in all of their cars in addition to attractive aesthetics. This not only shows in the Telluride but in the Kia Stinger, as well.
Kia’s sedans are still relevant
Although SUVs are currently prevalent in almost every car shopper’s mind, Bell feels that the sedan market is still relevant and that sedans can provide consumers with the utility they need.
“Many people in the sedan market are either downsizing from owning a big SUV that didn’t give them that engaging drive they were looking for, or maybe their family has changed, or looking for better fuel efficiency. Today’s modern sedans, especially with the Stinger’s sloping C-pillar space, you’re able to get a lot of cargo in there,” Bell stated.
Kia’s intention of producing well-balanced cars could definitely work in their favor. At first, it was a question of changing their brand image, but now that the Korean brand is being taken more seriously and is solidifying a better foundation in the market, they plan to focus on getting buyers to think more seriously about their other products.
Bell summed up his statements, saying, “There aren’t many compromises other than not being one of the ‘cool kids’ with a new crossover on your street. But perhaps not being one of the ‘cool kids’ shows you are thinking through your purchase a little deeper and smart. That’s where the future Kia sedan success is going to come from.”
Here’s to the future
At a time when the sedan segment is starting to look like an abandoned theme park, it’s refreshing that automakers like Kia aren’t giving up hope. Crossover SUVs are here to stay and that burgeoning segment is getting larger with every model year, However, with a well-planned balancing act, there is a lot that Kia, as well as other automakers, can be a lot to learn from the Telluride.