Kia to introduce new Sedona–or not–at New York show

Kia MPV easer

Kia will introduce a new multi-purpose vehicle at the New York International Auto Show.

Remember the Kia Sedona? Unless you were among the buyers of the 25,000 Sedona minivans that Kia sold in 2012, probably not. The plain Jane Sedona was something of a sideshow for Kia, enough to keep around but not sexy enough to take any kind of priority over the booming sales of the Optima and Soul, among other Kia models.

It was supposed to be replaced by new generation in the 2014 model year, and Kia thought a sell down of vehicles on dealers’ lots was appropriate. There would be no 2013 Kia Sedona. A Kia spokesman credited it to Kia’s product crush of seven new models for 2013. The resources just weren’t there to develop the Sedona replacement with the resources required to bring a new model to market.

We suspect, too, that a minivan might get lost in the crowd of new model introductions. It’s tempting to brag about your brand’s vitality as demonstrated by the number of new model debuts. However, as the saying goes, pride goeth before the disappointing model introduction numbers. Or something like that.

So in order to focus on that effort, Kia stopped selling the Sedona in the U.S. for the 2013 model year. Well, not selling, but producing. There was no 2013 Kia Sedona, just like there was no 1983. Sorta, anyway.

But when the pending 2014 Sedona was delayed—and dealers left with no minivan in their dealership showrooms—the only reasonable recourse for Kia was to revive the Sedona, bringing it back with a very mild nip—not even a tuck—for the 2014 model year.

Now, for the 2014 New York International Auto Show, Kia will, according to a Kia press release, “unveil an all-new midsize multi-purpose vehicle…. This global debut will challenge the segment and will offer the functionality to transport as many as eight passengers and their belongings while also serving as a purposeful offering for adventure seekers.”

By “the segment” we’re assuming minivan, and that “challenge the segment” is acceptable p.r. puffery. Going too far afield from the conventional minivan format has left many a minivan pretender flying in the prop wash of the FCA-nee–Chrysler Group minivans, the Town & Country and Grand Caravan, along with the Honda Odyssey and  Toyota Sienna.

On the other hand, Ford abandoned the minivan market, at least officially, when it debuted the unconventionally styled Ford Flex, which has had about the same sales numbers as the Sedona in its twilight years.

Kia released a teaser shot of the new “midsize multi-purpose vehicle,” and from what we can see, it looks a lot like a minivan. We’ll just have to wait a couple of weeks to see whether it is.