Inspired by the many Minis, Kia considers 'a family of Souls'
Photo credit: LINDSAY CHAPPELL
CHICAGO -- Kia may adopt Mini's product formula for the next-generation Soul crossover by offering several variations of the vehicle.
"I think there is an opportunity to produce a family of Souls," says Tom Kearns, Kia Motors America's chief designer.
Today there is only one Soul, a five-door hatchback.
BMW's Mini brand debuted in 2002 with just one model, a three-door hatchback. But over the years, Mini branched out, adding a roadster and a five-door hatchback.
"They have a Mini family in their range," Kearns said. "Soul could potentially have some of that. We keep kicking around the idea of a really inexpensive convertible, maybe with an inexpensive top that is manual to keep the price down."
At the Chicago Auto Show, Kia introduced the all-wheel- drive, three-door Track'ster concept, powered by a turbocharged, 250-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Although based on the five-door Soul, the Track'ster is about 5 inches lower, 5.5 inches wider and 4 inches shorter. Kearns would not say whether that concept will make its way into production.
Also, Kearns did not say when the next Soul will go on sale or when the model line might be expanded. Industry sources expect the redesigned Soul to appear in 2014.