Want the Kia Telluride? Sadly, we might not ever get it
Like many automakers, Kia has been rolling out crossovers as fast as they can build them. Looking at their local range, it covers just about every size class possible. From the Seltos all the way to the Sorento, Kia has a crossover for just about every person...and budget.
However, they seem to be missing out on one segment: the full-sized segment. Sure, it's not exactly a volume market, but there are contenders that sell in decent numbers nonetheless, namely the Hyundai Palisade and the Ford Explorer. Kia has the Telluride, which directly competes with the aforementioned crossovers. The thing is, Kia Philippines won't be bringing it in.
Manny Aligada, president of Kia Philippines, has a simple explanation for that: The Telluride is not made in South Korea. So what does that have to do their decision? It's all about taxes and free trade agreements.
Yes, the Kia Telluride is a Korean car, but it's actually assembled in the USA; West Point, Georgia to be exact. Also, the Telluride isn't offered in South Korea either unlike its mechanical twin, the Hyundai Palisade. Because of that, the Telluride will not be able to benefit from the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
Consequently, the Telluride will be 'very expensive' if Kia Philippines were to bring it in. Aligada did not mention how much it might have cost if it were sold here, but we reckon it will be more than the Palisade which already retails at Php 3,240,000.
What seems more likely would be the Mohave.That too is on the large side, albeit not as big as the Telluride. It's still a sizable vehicle, measuring in at nearly five meters long. Also, it uses a body-on-frame chassis, significantly different from the Telluride's unibody design. Unlike the Telluride, the Mohave is made is South Korea, making it eligible for the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Lastly, the Mohave comes with a turbodiesel whereas the Telluride does not.
Kia did sell the Mohave in the Philippines before, but discontinued it due to slow sales.
Of course, that's not to say that Kia won't be going on the offense this year. Expect more promos and incentives from the brand, said Aligada. There's no mention if they'll be launching a new models this year yet. However, given how fast-paced the local industry is now, they will have to as one of their goals this year is to sustain their recovery which began once Ayala Corporation took on the brand.