Crossover & Midsize

Kia To Scrap Sedona, Introduce Carnival

If ever there was a year to change things up, it’s 2020. Many automotive manufacturers are taking this unprecedented time to do equally unprecedented things to stay competitive. Just look at brands like GMC reviving the Hummer EV and Kia renaming the Optima to the K5. Marketing teams across the automotive industry are seeking to find new and interesting ways to keep gearheads invested in just what they’re doing. For many, rebranding seems to be the name of the game. 

Kia was quick to get in on the action of rebranding. After announcing the name change of the Optima, it has now decided to scratch the Sedona and to now christen in the Carnival. So far, the name has not been confirmed. But reports from CNET speculate that the Carnival is indeed coming to town for Kia.

Usually, automakers use rebrands and re-releases to breathe new life into models that are otherwise underperforming. While the Kia Sedona is incredibly reliable, it seems to have lost its luster in the eyes of the public. Is this why Kia is looking for a new way to promote its minivan? 

Let’s take a look at the Kia Sedona, and if all the theatrics of the Carnival could really be its saving grace.

Kia is redesigning the model for 2022

The 2022 Kia Sedona, aka 2022 Kia Carnival, parked on display with a cityscape in the background
The Korean edition of the 2022 Kia Carnival on display | Photo via Kia

Minivans aren’t as popular as they once were, but that doesn’t mean automakers shouldn’t show these models some love. Kia hasn’t made many significant changes to the Sedona since its last redesign for the 2015 model year.

Thankfully, major changes are arriving shortly. According to Car and Driver, the 2022 Kia Sedona/Carnival has a more SUV-like appearance, and it will be more powerful than its predecessor. This minivan features a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine, which sends power to the front wheels. The 2022 Kia Sedona/Carnival has a slightly longer wheelbase than the outgoing model. Plus, it has upgraded tech, such as a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen display.

The Carnival is already being used outside the U.S. 

Shoppers in the U.S. might be intrigued by Kia’s all-new minivan arrives for the 2022 model year, as it’ll have a different platform and a new name. However, the Carnival name isn’t new to Kia. In fact, the minivan we know as the Sedona is marketed as the Carnival in many places outside of America. Meanwhile, Kia markets its minivan as the Grand Carnival or Grand Sedona in other countries.

Kia first produced the Carnival in 1998, and it first made its way to the U.S. in 2002 as the Sedona. The upcoming 2022 model will mark the fourth generation of the vehicle. It’s no surprise that Kia needed to make some changes to its minivan. 

The Kia Sedona has declined in popularity in the U.S. over the past few years, as it’s lost ground to segment leaders like the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey.

According to GoodCarBadCar.net, Kia Sedona sales have consistently fallen since 2017. The manufacturer only sold 15,843 units in the U.S. in 2019, and only 11,160 Sedona have been sold thus far in 2020. 

Kia has plenty of reason to believe a redesign and a fresh, fun name might lead to some much-needed hype for its minivan.

The final verdict 

RELATED: The 2022 Kia Sedona Carnival Is a Telluride With Sliding Doors

It seems like the Sedona is out and the Carnival is here. With the Carnival already a mainstay for the brand internationally, it would only seem fitting that the brand standardize the name across the board. Additionally, the Sedona name seems to have run its course. Meanwhile, the Carnival breathes exciting and energetic new life into the older vehicle. 

With a redesign on the horizon, now seems like the perfect time for Kia to change things up. It will certainly be interesting to see if this will revitalize the model, and only time will tell if this marketing move will prove fruitful for the brand.