It’s disheartening to learn that Kia won’t be green lighting the SPORTSPACE Concept’s transition to the showroom, especially given how positive the reaction to it was during its reveal at the Geneva Motor Show.
An estate based on the all-new Optima which debuted at the 2015 New York Auto Show could have been where Kia called the SPORTSPACE concept up for production, and our hopes were high that they could flesh out what was already not far removed from a production version, at least based on the exterior.
But in a recent interview with Autoguide.com, Kia Motors planning vice president Orth Hendricks said “What we found is that an Optima wagon customer is right on top of our Sorento buyer. We looked at the volume and we looked at the number of people that would choose it and what it would cost,”
He continued by saying that “It would be a whole other set of tooling to bring all that stuff in,” when referring to the monetary and operational expense that would come from outfitting their factories to manufacture such a car.
Although an Optima estate with cues added from the SPORTSPACE concept would likely be well received in the European market, it seems that that simply isn’t enough justification for the automaker to consider an addition to its global model line-up especially when it concerns one of its most widely sold models. Moreover, the Optima is Kia's best seller in American market with 159,020 units sold in 2014, and the fact remains that estate cars just aren’t very popular there.
The fate of the SPORTSPACE’s journey to production hasn’t been flatly rejected with this news although it does mean that it will have to sit in the wings, at least for now.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.