Australia is no closer to getting the Kia Telluride.
Kia Australia executives have confirmed there’s no truth to rumours the Telluride will also enter production in Korea.
Overseas reports earlier this year suggested Kia would start building the Telluride in its home market to replace the ageing, body-on-frame Mohave.
This suggested there could be room on a Korean assembly line for a right-hand drive version, as there is for its Hyundai Palisade platform-mate.
“I can confirm that that is nothing but a rumour. There are no plans for Kia to build Telluride out of the South Korean factories,” said Kia Australia product planning manager Roland Rivero.
Unfortunately, production will remain limited to Kia’s US factory in West Point, Georgia, which only manufactures the Telluride in left-hand drive.
Given the strong demand for the Telluride in North America, where it’s also been met with widespread critical acclaim, it’s highly unlikely there’ll be production capacity made available for a right-hand drive model.
While Hyundai will be able to more fully enjoy this part of the large SUV segment without a Kia rival, the Carnival doesn’t have a Hyundai equivalent for now – although the Staria is on the horizon
“[Carnival] is doing a good job. It’s doing better than we might have thought, particularly at the upper end and it’s got a very strong private mix. We’re very happy with what Carnival is doing,” said Mr Rivero.
The recently redesigned Carnival remains far and away the best-selling vehicle in its segment with over 60 per cent share of the segment, while Hyundai’s last entrant in the Australian people mover segment was the Trajet, axed in 2008.
The Kia Telluride is available exclusively with a naturally-aspirated 3.8-litre V6 engine producing 217kW of power and 355Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive.
That’s the same engine as can be found in the Palisade, although to get all-wheel drive on an Australian-spec Palisade you have to opt for the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder.
So far during 2021, Kia has sold 2321 Carnival models while Hyundai has sold 1039 Palisades.