Conflicting reports from Australia have claimed that Kia has pulled the plug on introducing not only its first ever bakkie, but potentially also the off-road focused SUV aimed at the Nissan Patrol and Toyota Land Cruiser 300.
Last week, carsguide.com.au reported that the brand had revised its outlook for both models from 2022/2023 to not happening soon in spite of reports dating back to last year earmarking an unveiling in just over a year.
“We still haven’t got a clear direction on what’s going to happen with LCV, that’s the honest truth. We would hope that in the next couple of years that something does occur with LCV for our brand, not just for Australia but globally,” Kia Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith was quoted as saying.
“I haven’t changed my view on that. It’s up to Korea HQ. We haven’t been given any validation that it’s going ahead at this point. (But) 2022 is…unless they’re hiding things from us, it’s not going to happen”.
Of the SUV that was poised to usurp the left-hand-drive only Telluride at the top of Kia’s line-up, Kia Australia’s Product General Manager, Roland Rivero, told the publication that the model is, at present, “not a priority” as company resources are being used for other projects.
“At this point in time, the priority would be where the biggest volume is at. That by no means it’s a dead duck, but the priority right now with resources is where the biggest volume is at,” Rivero said.
“There would be a lot commonality for ute-based large SUVs. But for now with resource and prioritising of numerous global projects… that would be lower on the list. But by no means dead”.
According to the latest claim by CarsGuide though, a supposed in-depth look at Meredith’s comments has sparked “between the lines” confirmation that the pick-up, which would have been based on sister brand Hyundai’s still unseen and unnamed body-on-frame world bakkie, could’ve have been cancelled.
This comes after the COO was reportedly quoted as saying at the Australian launch of the updated Niro electric crossover that, “We haven’t been given any validation that it’s going ahead at this point” about the pick-up with the future of the SUV not being disclosed at all.
Unlike the unibody Hyundai Santa Cruz unveiled last month, a model not destined for right-hand-drive markets as it will be a US only model, Kia, for the time being, is not expected to bring out a badge engineered version as emphasis, seemingly, was placed on the body-on-frame derivative.
Last year, Rivero confirmed that the bakkie was still on course to be introduced in 2022 or 2023 but that he had received “strict orders” from Meredith not to divulge any further details about it to the media.
The placing of both models on the backburner is likely to be exploited further over the coming months until an official announcement is made at some point.