2 Door or Not 2 Door? The Kia Soul Question
Blake Rong, writing at Autoweek.com, says, "There are no plans whatsoever to bring a Soul coupe to the market." On the other hand, you have Jens Meiner at Car & Driver, proclaiming, "Insiders have told us that a two-door version, such as the 2012 Track’ster concept, could be an addition to the lineup. The Track’ster’s powertrain, which includes a 250-hp, turbocharged four, is another possibility."
So, one hand you have an official spokesperson telling AutoWeek it's not going to happen while on the other hand, you have an "insider" telling Car & Driver it kind of, could of, maybe happen, with a great engine underneath. The gut feeling would be AutoWeek is right in this case because Kia does not need a two-door Soul at this point.
The key verb in that sentence (for those of you diagramming at home) would be "need." What Kia needs right now are better sales of the rest of its products after a weak 2013 fiscal year. Its sales dropped 4% while the rest of the industry averaged a 7.6% growth. Kia should be optimistic about 2014 because February was a good month http://www.torquenews.com/108/kia-flat-sales-boosted-soul-forte with flat sales when other companies were experiencing problems with the weather.
But, and this is important, sales are picking up because of the four-door Soul. Introducing a two-door Soul at this point could jeopardize sales of the four-door because buyers might just purchase the coupe model. In effect, Kia could have two models getting roughly the same sales numbers as the one model, which is never a good thing.
However, don't brand it a Soul and introduce it as a separate model with 250 horsepower? That's a fair amount of oomph for a vehicle that would probably weigh less than 3000 lbs. That two-door coupe could be a winner in the market and not cannibalize Soul sales.
Keith Griffin has been writing continuously about new cars since 2002. He used to be the guide to used cars at former About.com as well as a contributor to The Boston Globe and Automotive Traveler. He is the founder and president of The Internet Car and Truck of the Year, where "Internet Pros and Average Joes" pick the car and truck of the year. Currently, Keith is the managing editor for American Business Media. Follow Keith at @indepthauto on Twitter.