What is the Kia Tasman and will the US get it?

kia tasman pickup

We've been hearing complaints about the Kia truck for years. Years. Back in 2004, we saw the Mojave pickup concept shown in the US But it never materialized. Then in 2018, we heard that Kia will build a small truck in the same space as the Hyundai Santa Cruz. It didn't happen. But now, we definitely have the Kia Tasman, which will hit the roads in 2025.

What is this Kia truck, and what are the chances of seeing it Stateside? What we know so far is interesting.

Is the Kia Tasman in the middle?

In a recent Kia Global speech, the automaker called it a C-segment truck. What? Although my Google skills failed to find an exact definition for a truck, C-segment when referring to cars, means “mid-size.” In addition, some publications revealed that it will take on the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux. All in all, that makes me think that the Kia Tasman will be a midsize pickup.

While the press release doesn't say that, we're also guessing it'll be a body-on-frame design because Kia says the Tasman will have “the power to focus on work.” The release also reveals that this truck will meet the needs of the off-road vehicle market in different areas.

Kia has released an official image that is heavily camouflaged, but you can see other details, including beefy tires, Telluride-like taillights and some gloss over the wheels. This particular model is a crew cab with a short bed, and it's TBD if there will be other cab/bed configurations. But given the mid-range segments in this particular configuration, we don't think there will be.

Where will it be built?

There is also little information on where this truck will be built, which will completely affect the final question of how we will get it in the US. However, since the word “Tasman” comes from “Tasmania,” an island on the southern tip of Australia and the hidden fold was influenced by the Australian landscape by an Australian artist, we can make an educated guess.

And it's not Australia.

However, as this is clearly aimed at the Australian market, and Australian Kias are largely built in South Korea, the Kia Tasman will likely be built in, you guessed it, South Korea.

Will it come to the US?

And the place it's built why won't it come to the US There's this thing called the “Chicken Tax,” which started in the 1960s and imposed high tariffs on imported trucks. That's what killed the Kia Mojave concept back in 2004.

Unlike Australia, the US has a Kia plant within our borders, in West Point, Georgia. It builds the Telluride, Sorento and Sportage SUVs, and soon it will take on the EV9. It produces 350,000 cars a year and operates 3 shifts a day, 24 hours a day.

Can this plant, which already seems strong, take another car? It is possible. Cars built here are exported not only to the US but also to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Middle East and the Pacific nations. Since some nations are not subject to the Chicken Tax, if the industry cuts back on exports, there could be room for a new car in a completely different place. It is possible.

Another consideration is whether the American market could accommodate the South Korean cargo truck. For example, if you look at the sales of the Ford Maverick vs. Hyundai Santa Cruz, may give someone pause. In 2023, Maverick sold 94k units compared to Santa Cruz's 37k units.

An important point

So, the gist of this story is this: The Kia Tasman will be a midsize truck. The conclusion.

I'm kidding. Kind of. We also know from an indirect press release that it will be sold initially in Australia, Korea, Africa and the Middle East.

As for the US model? TBD. But the trusty Magic 8 Ball says: “The signs point to no.”

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