Kia‘s Soul compact car has a commanding lead over the Nissan Cube and Scion xB, outselling the Cube by a near 2:1 margin. But Kia is hesitant to expand the Soul’s lineup by spinning off variants of the boxy small car in the quest to increase sales.
Speaking to Ward’s Auto, Orth Hedrick, director of product planning at Kia, the Soul “tends to be a niche vehicle.” “There is very high appeal to a very narrow group of buyers.”
Kia introduced the Soul’ter convertible concept at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, but so far there has been little push to build it. Structural changes as well as design considerations would necessitate a substantial investment that would be hard to justify.
On the other hand, Kia’s 88% rise in the geographic market that covers New York City and Boston is largely attributed to the Soul, and Hedrick knows this well. “We’re very fortunate the product is relevant in all parts of the country, but clearly the Northeast is a success for us,” he said.
The Soul is due for a re-fresh in 2012.
[Source: Ward’s Auto]