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Kia Cross GT may lead to US sales

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    The Cross GT concept was shown in Chicago with a hybrid V6 petrol and electric motor. Photo Gallery

Cross GT concept SUV is biggest Kia yet.

Kia is pinning hopes on a US sales win while admitting its sleek SUV concept may be to big for Europe. The Cross GT, unveiled this week at the Chicago motor show, is the biggest Kia yet and if it gets the green light, will be the most expensive. 

Its designer, Peter Schreyer, says it's a concept "that I think is realistic for production''. Schreyer, in Chicago to unveil the Cross GT, recently became the head of Hyundai design, a role which he takes while remaining in a similar position at Kia.

The Cross GT concept was shown in Chicago with a hybrid V6 petrol and electric motor that together produce 298kW/678Nm and has an electric-only range of 32km.

It is 4.89m long, 2m wide and yet only 1.66m high and sits on a long 3.09m wheelbase. Kia says that while its promoted as a concept, the powertrain "may one day find their way into a production vehicle.''

The Cross GT, actually designed in the US by Kia's California studio, is built on the company's rear-drive platform created for the GT saloon shown as a concept at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show.

This saloon is also yet to become a production reality though is slated as the next generation Quoros  - a 5m plus, left-hand drive only BMW 7-Series challenger with rear drive and a V8 petrol engine. The Quoros shares its platform with the Hyundai Genesis.

Kia has no plans to import the Quoros into Australia, saying "it's too big''. But Hyundai spokesman Bill Thomas says the Genesis Coupe is confirmed for Australia within two years and possibly the sedan may follow later. Photographs of the next generation Genesis four-door saloon were shown this week, but the car won't appear in the US and Korea until later this year and then followed by the coupe.

Hyundai Australia has confirmed it will take the next-generation Genesis coupe, and maybe four-door sedan, which will go on show at Detroit in January 2014. "It's still in business case stage,'' says Hyundai Australia's public relations manager Bill Thomas.

"The price of the car will be critical. We are manufacturers of quality small and mid-size cars. "Genesis is very much a luxury car and we have to be very careful not to over extend ourselves into a new market.'' The car's designer, Schreyer, was also asked if he believed his role as the design head of both Kia and Hyundai would compromise future designs, disagreed.

"I see it as a great challenge.'' he says. "They (Kia and Hyundai) take different directions. To me, they both make sporty cars. But Hyundai is elegant and cultured while Kia is sharper.''
 

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