Mon. Jan 30th, 2023

Seltos — the Gateway to Kia

Kia pulled the sheet off the updated 2024 Seltos at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show. This gave Clean Fleet Report the opportunity to sit down with the Seltos Product Manager, Jenny Chang, to discuss the latest updates to this compact SUV.

A big change for Kia’s entry-level model

CFR: What is the importance of the Seltos to Kia?

Kia: The Seltos is extremely important as it serves as a gateway vehicle to our brand. It is the most affordable of our all-wheel drive-equipped SUVs, sliding between the Soul and Sportage in price.

CFR: Tell us a bit about Seltos’ history and philosophy.

A quick redo

Kia: The first generation Seltos came out in early 2020, just before the pandemic, and we weren’t sure what would come of it. Amazingly, it has been successful and brought us some of our youngest buyers, which is who we made this vehicle for, but also to conquest from other brands—new buyers who had never considered the Kia line-up. The brands we are seeing new customers come from are Toyota, Honda and Subaru, but also Chevrolet and Ford. We will be hopefully getting traction from Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Blazer (shoppers.) But it isn’t only SUVs, as we are seeing customers moving up from sedans.

With SUVs being 80%+ of our industry, we needed an SUV to attract those customers. The Soul (was the right size), but it didn’t have all-wheel drive. So we have checked those boxes. The Seltos has truly been a gateway model for our brand.

Is It All-New?

CFR: The 2024 Seltos looks considerably different than the current model. Is this considered “all-new?”

Kia: No, but it feels like a next-gen because there are so many changes. [Editor’s Note: The 2024 Seltos changes include two transmission and engine options, 20 more horsepower, choice of front or all-wheel drive, larger front grille and headlight design, new tail lights and, for the first time, the X-Line appearance trim package. The interior has more than 20-inches of panoramic screens in a redesigned cabin. Clean Fleet Report will have a full road test on the 2024 Seltos sometime in mid-2023.]

Not electric–yet

CFR: Any news for the Seltos being electrified?

Kia: No plans for this current generation, but the Seltos will live up to what Plan S has promised. [Editor’s Note: Plan S is the commitment for Kia’s future of electrified vehicles, including 11 EVs by 2025. Kia already has the EV6, Niro, Sorento and Sportage electrified SUVs available now, with the EV9 coming soon.]

CFR: With an all-wheel drive option, are there aspirations customers will be buying a Seltos to go off-roading?

Kia: Aspirations, that’s the key word. In an idealized image, that is something we want to offer up, but it certainly is not the only thing the Seltos will be used for. In the past few years we have been launching SUV after SUV, and we want our line-up to be about capable SUVs. We want people to see Seltos has that off-roading capability, and it is credible to go away from roads, then go into the woods and camping. The whole off-road idea was amplified by the pandemic; it’s an emotion we want to elicit from people seeing our cars.

When Will It Be in Dealers?

CFR: What is the timeline for the Seltos being in dealers?

A mid-year intro

Kia: This is a 2024 model that will be in dealers in the middle of 2023, with the 2025 model coming out in late-2024. We tend to be early to keep the residual value high with an intentional strategy to get our cars out there early. [Editor’s Note: Pricing and fuel economy details will be released for the 2024 Seltos just prior to its going on-sale.]

CFR: So, can you tell me what you are working on now, seeing as the 2024 Seltos is here?

Kia: The cadence of product development is you launch a car and then immediately work on the facelift, and before the facelift is out, you begin working on the next generation. It is a constant looking ahead, and you are never in the current period. We have a lot of EVs coming out, so we will leave it at that!

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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by Lex Adams and Kia.

The post Interview: Jenny Chang, Kia Seltos Product Manager first appeared on Clean Fleet Report.

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