Kia’s been on a roll lately, producing strong products and pulling down record sales numbers. It has not, however, been setting sales records with its minivan, the Sedona. Maybe a new name and new styling is the answer. The Korean Car Blog and Motor1 report that a new Carnival minivan will replace the weak-selling Sedona and that it will get SUV-like styling — just like the Chevy Uplander.
As consumers are pushed into crossovers, fewer automakers are bothering to build minivans at all, leaving just four on the market now: Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica/Voyager and the Kia Sedona. The Sedona has been No. 4 in that four-car segment for years. Honda sold 99,113 Odysseys last year. The Pacifica was a close second with 97,706 units sold. The Sienna was third with 73,585 sold. The Sedona was a distant fourth, selling just 15,843 Sedonas in 2019.
The new Carnival’s styling will be more SUV-like, seemingly in an effort to appeal to crossover buyers. Kia’s calling it a “Grand Utility Vehicle.” You may remember that GM tried this in the mid-2000s, giving the Chevy Uplander, Pontiac Montana, Saturn Relay and Buick Terraza new, truckier front ends.
Will Kia be able to convince customers with a new name and look that the Carnival isn’t a minivan? Maybe. But with the Telluride selling like there’s cash in the glovebox and a new Sorento coming, consumers may decide that this world is no place for a Kia minivan.