NEW YORK — The redesigned Soul introduced by Kia today at the New York auto show has new sheet metal, a stiffer body, a longer and wider chassis and powertrains that deliver more torque.
The Soul helped put Kia on the design map. It was Kia’s first production vehicle designed under chief stylist Peter Schreyer, the former Audi designer who joined the company in 2006. He now oversees the global design operations for Kia and affiliate Hyundai.
“When the first Soul was introduced in 2009, everyone at Kia believed we had a hit on our hands, but we didn’t realize how big that hit was going to be,” Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing at Kia Motors America, said in a statement. “The Soul moved the needle significantly from a sales and marketing perspective.”
Sales of the boxy subcompact with the wide stance exceeded 100,000 in 2011 and 2012, when a record 115,778 Souls were sold in the United States. Kia’s goal was 40,000 units annually when the Soul debuted in 2009. But sales slid 11 percent to 16,933 units in the first two months of 2013, the Soul’s fifth year on the market.
Kia hopes to reverse that trend when the redesigned Soul arrives in U.S. showrooms in the third quarter.
Article source: http://www.autonews.com/article/20130327/OEM04/130329887