Just two years ago, Kia dealer James Morrell would have said the automaker's portfolio still had some sizable holes.
Morrell, chairman of the Kia Dealer Advisory Council, thought the Korean automaker needed another midsize crossover in addition to a smaller utility further down the lineup.
He feels much differently about the state of the lineup today.
The three-row Telluride launched last year on the back of an emotional Super Bowl spot and has won an array of honors, including being named the 2020 North American Utility Vehicle of Year.
Morrell said the Telluride is attracting more upscale buyers, which provides a challenge to dealerships that may not be used to serving a luxury crowd.
U.S. sales for the decorated Telluride, in its first year on the market, were 58,604, placing it seventh in a hugely competitive segment that also includes the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Traverse.
"Some dealers are seeing Range Rover customers, BMW customers, coming in for the Telluride," Morrell, dealer principal of Destination Kia in Albany, N.Y., told Automotive News. "It offers so much value, the Telluride, [that] we're really seeing a lot of customers that have never stepped foot in a Kia dealership before."
The lineup is getting another boost in the first quarter with the release of the Seltos, a compact utility vehicle that will slot between the boxy Soul and the Sportage. The Seltos, he said, will fortify Kia's once car-heavy lineup with another option in a hot segment.
"We have the Soul, but we don't have anything in that small, compact-SUV segment that's been so popular. That's just been groundbreaking for us to have an expansion in the product portfolio with new SUVs," Morrell said. "It's good to see Kia really engaging and actually letting us fill these holes in our product portfolio."