Kia aims to launch Telluride PHEV SUV in U.S. next year

SEOUL-- Kia Motors Corp. said Thursday that it is considering the launch of the Telluride in the United States next year to take advantage of growing demand for big SUVs.

"The Telluride is in the development stage and the company has yet to decide whether to sell the vehicle in South Korea and overseas markets other than the U.S.," a company spokesman said.

Kia Motors unveiled the plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) SUV at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where it received good reviews. The vehicle could be powered by a 3.5-liter gasoline engine and a 130-horsepower electric motor, the company said.

The move to consider the launch of a car that was only shown in the form of a concept comes as Kia is scrambling to get new SUV models into the critical North American market, where demand is high for SUVs and pickup trucks.

The maker of the K5 sedan and the Soul boxcar has struggled with declining sales in the important automobile market due to the lack of new SUV models. Its U.S. sales fell to 502,327 vehicles in the January-October period, down 7.1 percent from 540,741 units a year earlier.

Kia's Telluride is expected to come with a strong exterior design, which will feature the carmaker's distinct "tiger nose" grille, and good fuel economy due to its hybrid system. The car is expected to have a luxury-oriented yet futuristic interior to further bolster its appeal.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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