Proof that the Korean automotive onslaught has only just begun is the announcement by Kia Motor Corporation that its funky all-new five-door hatchback, the Kia Soul, is to be marketed globally after its release in February 2009.
Both in name and in style, as the accompanying images show, the Soul is sure to appeal to Kia?s target demographic of younger buyers and ?the young at heart?. To be available with a choice of three engines: a 16-valve DOHC 2-litre petrol, a smaller capacity 1.6-litre petrol (to be offered in most countries), and a 1.6-litre turbo diesel (with a VGT (variable geometry turbocharger), the Soul should be on even par with competitors like the Swift, Hyundai i30 and even the Peugeot 207.
We will have to wait until the Paris Motor Show, opening 2 October before we get a look at the production versions, but the concept cars shown in March at the Geneva Motor Show, and soon to be shown in London, certainly whetted the appetite with their strong, modern lines and evident ?personality?.
According to Peter Schreyer, Kia's Chief Design Officer, "Reaction from the media and public to the three SOUL concept cars... has been overwhelmingly positive. The SOUL concept cars are so closely related to the new Kia Soul production car, that everyone can see this new model will defy conventions and appeal especially to the young and young-at-heart - whatever their age," he said.
The three concept cars to be displayed in London - SOUL Burner, SOUL Diva and SOUL Searcher - were created by Kia's European design team and developed from the original SOUL concept that originated jointly from Kia's California and Korea design studios (and first seen in 2006 at the Detroit Motor Show).
The Kia Soul is scheduled to go on sale in Europe in February next year; we won?t see it here until later in 2009.
It looks an interesting proposition: breezy, funky looks don?t do any harm in urban showrooms.