Kia Australia has dashed the hopes of local buyers looking to get behind the wheel of the reigning World Car of the Year, with the Telluride large SUV to carry on without right-hand-drive production despite its mechanical sibling preparing to make the move soon.
Speaking to CarsGuide this week, Kia Australia general manager of product planning Roland Rivero revealed the recent confirmation of the mechanically related Hyundai Palisade for local sales from the fourth quarter of this year hasn’t helped the Telluride’s case here.
“Palisade is produced out of factories in South Korea, and as you can understand, there’s a bit more flexibility coming out of (there),” he said.
“Telluride is strictly out of the Georgia factory in the US and – as you know – going extremely well for the North American market, including Canada.
“They’re at the point where adding another production line for right-hand drive is just not feasible for the quantities that we would demand.
“The UK hasn’t expressed any interest, so the overall right-hand-drive volume just couldn’t be justified for the Georgia factory to develop accordingly, so there won’t be a right-hand-drive Telluride.”
When asked if the Telluride could be built in right-hand drive in South Korea, Mr Rivero revealed “it’s not planned for any production line” there, although there’s still some hope it could become available outside of the US for its next life cycle.
“For the second generation, it becomes a new clean slate of negotiations, so we’ll never say never,” he said. “But at the same time, if it remains strictly in the Georgia factory, the business case is still going to be difficult.”
As reported, the Telluride is available in North America with a 217kW/355Nm 3.8-litre naturally aspirated V6 petrol engine, which is mated to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission and has the option of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.