Not long after its debut, Kia Australia product boss Jeff Shafer told TMR that the hugely positive response to the Sportspace could go a long way toward the concept’s potential for a production schedule.
He added however that it would be no easy thing to build a business case for an Optima wagon in Australia, and a new report this week suggests that his counterpart in the US has reached the same conclusion.
Speaking with website AutoGuide, Kia Motors America product chief Orth Hendricks said that while the Sportspace could prove popular in wagon-mad Europe, a US launch would likely not gel with the company’s established case for the new Sorento SUV.
“We looked at the volume and we looked at the number of people that would choose it and what it would cost,” Hendricks told the website at the New York Auto Show.
“What we found is that [an Optima wagon customer] is right on top of our Sorento buyer.”
Hendricks added that, for whatever good the Sportspace could do for Kia’s brand image, its potential for a likely incremental increase in overall sales would not justify the cost of development and production.
“It would be a whole other set of tooling to bring all that stuff in,” he said.
Together, the Optima and Sorento make up a huge 45 percent of Kia’s sales in the US, accounting for 261,540 sales between them in 2014.
The all-new Optima will hit Australia later this year, while the big new Sorento will land in the coming months.