Kia is considering adding a second supermini-sized crossover, possibly badged Xrio, to respond to growing demand for high-riding cars, according to the firm’s product planning boss. The new model would be in addition to Kia’s existing B-segment SUV, the Stonic.
The expansion of high-riding bodystyles at the Korean maker has recently been bolstered by the Ceed hatch-based Xceed, a model that, Kia claims, could become the firm’s bestseller.
“What we are looking at is whether the market is going to split into low and high seating positions for SUVs and crossovers and whether we need five models to cover the market or four,” David Labrosse, Kia Europe’s head of product planning, told Autocar, “and whether some should be electric or not.”
Booming Xceed sales would make a strong case for a sporty Rio-based SUV. “Nothing is decided, but that’s a decision on the table right now,” said Kia Europe’s COO Emilio Herrera.
Herrera believes the more car-like driving manners of the Xceed could push it beyond 100,000 sales in Europe in 2021. In its first year of sales, in 2020, Herrera expects it to reach around 80,000 units.
As the Sportage ages, its sales are forecast to drop from 125,000 last year to 110,000 this year and possibly under 100,000 in 2020, dipping below the XCeed’s.
Kia classifies the SUV segments as B-high/Blow and C-high/C-low by differing seating positions. Currently, Kia covers the market with four models: the B-segment Stonic (B-low) and, in the C-segment, the Xceed (C-low) and Niro and Sportage (both C-high).
The Stonic is a relatively new model and due a facelift in late 2020/2021, with a replacement arriving in around 2023/2024.
Although the Stonic has a crossover body, its seating position is set at the same height as the Rio hatch’s, which some insiders believe should change for the next model.
The next-generation Stonic could evolve into a more ‘formal’ SUV, making space for a low-roof, sporty crossover in the mould of the Xceed, based on the Rio.