Kia’s Telluride SUV is winning the hearts of consumers and media here in the U.S. with its bold styling, and strong value quotient. But the Telluride is not avalible in all markets, with Kia’s Australian division reportedly asking the company for a body-on-frame SUV to rival the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.
Part of this stems from the Telluride not being offered in Australia due to its left-hand drive only layout. This results in a noticeable gap above the smaller Sorento, with the brand being unable to compete with the Land Cruiser Prado, which commands a sizable amount of sales in the land down under.
“We need probably one or two bigger [SUVs], to be quite honest. That would help us dramatically,” revealed Kia Australia CEO Damien Meridith during an interview with Motoring where he also reiterated the need for a model above Sorento in that market.
The Land Cruiser Prado is smaller than the standard Land Cruiser model, but U.S. buyers should be familiar with the Prado since it is currently sold in our country as the Lexus GX. Back in Australia, the body on frame Kia would also battle the Ranger based Ford Everest, but the good news here is that Kia would perhaps not start from scratch in this endeavor. Back in 2019, Meredith confirmed that Kia and Hyundai are jointly developing a body on frame pickup that would compete with the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger which were the top two selling vehicles in Australia for 2019.
Thus, converting the truck into an SUV model would be less costly, and allow the new model to have a quicker development period as well. If they do appear, look for the new models to possibly benefit from some of the new infotainment and powertrain systems that help define some of the firm’s current models.
Kia stressed that Meredith’s requested models have not heen approved for production at the moment, so it is too early to say if it will be an Australian exclusive, or if it has a chance of reaching the United States. The latter would be key though, since the U.S. is one of the world’s biggest utility markets, and that would help enhance the justification of building it to begin with.
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