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Future models - Kia - Koup

Kia flies the Koup - and Soul

Koup de grace: Kia's sporty new coupe - probably to be called Koup - will be aimed at sub-$20,000 buyers.

Kia's Cerato-based Koup is destined for Australia, along with the Soul

27 Jan 2009

KIA is aiming to introduce its upcoming sporty coupe from under $20,000 as part of a renewed small-car strategy that will also yield the Suzuki SX4-style Soul hatch by the last quarter of 2009.

Both will fill in for the Ceed three and five-door hatch models, which are unlikely to head to Australia in their current guise because they will be too expensive to import from Europe.

The Koup, as it will probably be known when sales start in about September, is the production version of the 2008 New York International Auto Show concept car that heralded Kia’s new styling direction under former Volkswagen Group designer Peter Schreyer.

Based on the just-launched second-generation TD Cerato four-door sedan, the Koup is expected to open within a few hundred dollars of the base $18,990 S version.

A variation of the just-introduced Theta II version of Kia’s 115kW/194Nm 2.0-litre twin-cam CVVT four-cylinder engine is believed to be one of the Koup’s powerplants for Australia.

GoAuto has learned that an evolution of the 2.4-litre four-cylinder ‘global’ petrol unit as used in the mid-sized Magentis sedan (as well as a host of Mitsubishi, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Hyundai models) is also on the cards for the Koup.

17 center image Left: Kia Soul.

Further, a Kia insider has indicated that the new-generation 2.0-litre or 2.2-litre R-series common-rail four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine might also be made available for Australian-bound Kias such as the Koup in future.

According to Kia Motors Australia product manager Nick Reid, the production version will remain “true” to the Koup Concept’s looks as the Korean company strives to sex up its image in Australia.

“It is an outstanding vehicle. We expect it to do great things for the brand,” Mr Reid stated.

A low roofline, wide stance and pillarless doors will be among the car’s standout features.

Kia Motors Australia marketing boss Steve Watt is hoping to lure the sort of buyers who might have considered the old Honda Integra or Honda Prelude.

“The Koup is an image car for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Soul will fill the space vacated by the old-generation LD Cerato hatch when it lobs into Australia in the second quarter of this year.

Based on a thorough redevelopment of the Hyundai/Kia MC platform that also underpins the Rio and Accent light cars (as well as the Getz-replacing Hyundai i20), the front-wheel-drive Soul will replicate the Nissan Tiida’s and Suzuki SX4’s trick by looking and feeling larger than its diminutive B-segment platform suggests.

Priced from about $20,000, the Soul will also mimic BMW’s Mini and the Fiat 500 by offering an extensive range of personalisation options.

“Customisation is a key part to the strategy,” Mr Reid said.

Like the Koup and Cerato, the 2.0-litre Theta II petrol engine is slated for the Soul, with the 2.4-litre petrol and new 2.0 or 2.2-litre R-Series diesel also a possibility during the course of the car’s life.

Kia is hopeful all three vehicles will reinvigorate the company’s small-car fortunes in Australia after the disappointment of missing out on the Ceed.

“The Soul will do the hatch thing for us,” Mr Reid reassured. “It is very comparable in size to a hatch.

“This is the beginning of a good product cycle for us, and hopefully we can maintain volume and increase our market share.

“We would love to have the Ceed or a Cerato hatch, but they are not on the radar for us.” Nevertheless, the introduction of a hatch version of the new Cerato is not out of the question.

“We obviously keep pressure on Kia Motors (in Korea) for one… but things change pretty quickly in this industry, so I’m not saying that it is not going to happen.”

Read more:

First look: Kia's sporting chances

Detroit show: Kia Soul'ster drops the top

Kia marks its Soul

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