To go with the European reveal of the new Kia Ceed small hatch comes news that a crossover variant could be on the cards to help fill Kia’s missing C-segment SUV gap.
According to Auto Express in the UK, Kia’s decision to drop a three-door hatch version of the new compact model, which shares its underpinnings with the Cerato hatch and sedan that will go on sale in Australia, frees up production capacity for a new variant.
Kia’s European vice president of marketing, Arthur Martins, opened-up on the possibility of a crossover-type vehicle.
“There will be no three-door with this car so that gives us the chance to have another body type” he said.
Citing the brand’s success with the next-size-up Sportage in the European market, Martins suggested that the next move for the brand would be to aim for the same success in the burgeoning small SUV market.
“We have a chance to increase volume but we have to change the recipe, we have to come with a different proposition, something more relevant”. Martins said.
Kia already offers the Rio-based Stonic SUV (above) in Europe to fill the B-segment and does sell the hybrid-only Niro - both of which aren’t available in Australia, with the local arm deeming both products as unsuitable to Australian market preferences.
Last month, Kia unveiled the SP Concept in India, a compact SUV that could point to the Ceed-based crossover.
In January Kia Australia’s general manager of product planning told TMR that the brand had plans of introducing yet another SUV better suited to global tastes. An eventual Ceed-based high-rider could be that vehicle.
At the time Mr Rivero hinted that Australia wasn’t the only market with its hand up for a more suitable small crossover vehicle, pointing to the potential for a global program for the new crossover.
“There’s a couple of markets that believe the small SUV that’s needed needs to be filled as soon as possible” he said, hinting at an in-progress development schedule.
While Europe will receive turbocharged 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre engine options for the Ceed when it goes on sale, Australia’s Cerato will use a larger naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine. In the case of an SUV derivative engines are likely to stay the same for their respective regions.
The eventual Ceed SUV is tipped to reach production by the middle of 2019 and will join the hatch and as-yet unseen wagon and fastback ‘shooting brake’ variants as part of the Ceed range.
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