Motor Trend reports Kia will have a busy 2011 model year ahead, with the first vehicle on its launch list coming from the U.S. The new Kia factory in West Point, Georgia, is in preproduction for the 2011 Kia Sorento, and the first versions of the new crossover vehicle should begin to ship to dealers early next year. The Sorento thus will skip the 2010 model year, as Kia purges dealers of the old, body-on-frame design that's been around since 2003.
After the Sorento appears, a new Kia Optima is in the cards. It's being planned roughly in tandem with the new Hyundai Sonata sedan that launches this fall at the 2009 Los Angeles auto show. Four-cylinder and six-cylinder Optimas will emerge, but it's unsure if a hybrid version will join the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid in the product plan.
Last up for Kia in 2011 will be a replacement for the Amanti sedan. Unlike today's front-driver, there's a more upscale rear-drive format in the model plan. The architecture for the new Amanti, in fact, will be shared with the 2009 Hyundai Genesis sedan, which also spawned the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Kia's version likely will be a little more traditional, though with new head designer Peter Schreyer, a more European-influenced shape is a sure bet to replace the current Amanti's baroque lines. Motor Trend reports the Kia version will adopt the Coupe's four- and six-cylinder engines, while the big Tau V-8 will stay a Hyundai exclusive.
Along with a five-door Forte hatchback and an updated 2010 Sportage, Kia's busy year ahead is already underway. Stay tuned as TheCarConnection gets into the Forte Koup, and brings you the latest preview information for this fall's Los Angeles auto show.