Kia Compact Crossover Confirmed For U.S. Launch Next Year
It could be called Tusker.
At the beginning of February, Kia announced its plans to enter the Indian market by showcasing 16 global models and a shiny new concept at the 2018 Auto Expo event. Although the SP Concept has been designed and engineered to cater India, it looks like the compact crossover will also be available in the United States. This is more than just gossip as the plan was officially revealed by the automaker’s CEO, Han-Woo Park, in an interview with Automotive News.
While the Indian version will be built in the world’s second most populous country at a new $1.1-billion factory in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, its North American sibling will be sourced from South Korea beginning with the second half of next year. In regards to the model’s name, the new compact crossover is expected to be called Tusker (at least in India) following an online survey set up by Kia that also included the “Trazor,” “SP-Z,” and “Trailster” monikers.
It will be interesting to see how the new high-riding model will be positioned in Kia’s U.S. lineup in relation to the Sportage, another compact crossover. In Europe, the Sportage will be joined by another similarly sized vehicle as the third-generation Ceed will get the crossover treatment in the years to come.
Aside from introducing a new compact crossover in the United States, Kia is also bringing the three-row Telluride (pictured above) revealed almost two months ago during the New York Fashion Week. Due to go on sale next spring, the bigger model will be produced in the U.S. at the company’s plant in West Point, Georgia where the Sorento and Optima come to life.
Following the rollout of these two crossovers, Kia will then begin to think about adding a small pickup truck. However, it remains to be seen whether it will happen as Han-Woo Park admits it’s a challenging segment.
Speaking of pickups, sister brand Hyundai still hasn’t made up its mind whether the 2015 Santa Cruz concept should go into production. It’s still in an early R&D phase and even if green-lighted, it will take more than two and a half years to have the final version ready for the assembly line.