At Kia's press release at SEMA this morning, North America COO Len Hunt got right to the point. Kia wants to capture a larger portion of the US econobox market by spending its Hyundaibux on design. It's a trickle-down strategy, with ex-Audi artiste Peter Schreyer leading the company's styling direction, and a major new design studio opening at the company's new campus in Irvine, California. The first expression will be the new Kia Soul small SUV, which Hunt today revealed will look nearly exactly like the concept, first shown at the Detroit auto show in 2006. It's something the company's research says will appeal to the coveted Gen Y demo. Hook 'em young, is the mantra, then send them upward to papa Hyundai when they hit middle management. Because what every carmaker needs is a Scion.
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