Cars and Concepts

Kia taps Telluride for new SUV concept, promises 3-D-printed components

Kia says the SUV concept “pushes the boundaries of technology and luxury with unique in-cabin health-and-wellness technology.”

Kia Motors has named the large SUV concept debuting at next week’s Detroit auto show the Telluride and says it will feature the brand’s first use of 3-D printed components.

Taking its name from the Colorado town famed for its skiing and picturesque mountains, the rugged, boxy Telluride previews Kia’s possible return to a segment it abandoned in 2011.

Offering new details earlier today, the South Korean automaker said the SUV concept “pushes the boundaries of technology and luxury with unique in-cabin health-and-wellness technology.”

It will also feature Kia’s first use of parts made through 3-D printing, which uses a type of plastic powder and technology similar to an inkjet printer to make parts.

Kia said the 3-D printed parts would add a “distinct, modern” flair to the dashboard, door panels and steering wheel.

Kia hasn't marketed a large SUV in the U.S. since the seven-passenger Borrego was dropped in 2011. The midsize body-on-frame SUV was launched in 2008 with a starting price of $26,995, including shipping, for the V-6, two-wheel-drive version.

The Telluride concept will feature Kia’s first use of parts made through 3-D printing.

Kia did not say whether a production version of the Telluride would actually use 3-D printed components.

Engineers are increasingly using 3-D printing to shave time from product development. The printer “sprays” sintered plastic powder in layers and builds the part. Each layer is hardened by photovoltaic light lasers.

The process delivers fast test parts that not only are the correct size but can be machined and tested under stress.

You can reach Hans Greimel at hgreimel@crain.com -- Follow Hans on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/hansgreimel

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