Lee Soon Nam, director of Kia’s overseas marketing group, confirmed plans to build a cabriolet version of the compact crossover after explaining it will help to give the brand a sportier, younger image to customers.
Convertibles are hugely popular in the UK – over one in ten Mazda MX-5s, the world’s best-selling two-seat convertible, occur in the UK market – and Kia is keen to take advantage of their popularity.
Combining this with the rapidly growing crossover market is a bold move from the car maker. The Kia Soul is the same size as a supermini but features a raised driving position, large, muscular wheel arches and a shape reminiscent of the SUV sector.
The recent trend for crossovers has seen sales grow in the past year. The Nissan Juke and larger Kia Sportage have boosted interest in the new crossover market.
However, there is currently no example of a crossover cabriolet on sale in the UK and Kia’s Soul crossover could be the first to be released when it arrives in 2014.
The introduction could coincide with a mid-life upgrade to the Kia Soul range, four years after the model first arrived in UK showrooms.
Kia Soul prices currently start from £11,620 on-the-road and all models come with Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty.
Kia also offers the compact crossover in a number of special editions, named ‘Soul Originals’. These include the graphic-covered Soul Burner, Soul Searcher, white and black Soul Echo, Soul Shaker and Soul Tempest limited editions.
Kia has aimed the Soul at younger buyers and targeted urban and city areas. The convertible is expected to expand its popularity in both the UK and German markets, where drop-top cars traditionally sell well.