What fun it would have been to attend the original Kia Soul pitch meeting with the automaker’s senior leadership. “We’re gonna build this 5-door hatchback for Americans who hate hatchbacks, and to keep the costs down we’re gonna put it on the Rio platform. And then, these hilarious rapping rodents are gonna sell it on TV. People will go nuts for it. It will be a ginormous success.”
The person giving that presentation must have been all packed up and ready to stand in the unemployment line.
Rarely has an automaker achieved so much with so little. What made the original Soul compelling wasn’t the low price tag associated with its humble origins, or the lyrical hamsters appearing in the Soul’s commercials. Rather, the original Soul had soul, character, embodied in styling that made the youth-oriented “urban utility vehicle” stand far apart from the usual econo-car. Better yet, it looked and felt like a genuine bargain, and offered compelling practicality no matter the buyer’s age.
Now, at the 2013 New York Auto Show, Kia has introduced a redesigned 2014 Soul. The car looks much like the original, and since the now-famous rapping hamsters introduced the new 2014 Soul in New York it would appear that Kia is taking a familiar road with marketing. As they say on reality TV, “Don’t fix what ain’t broke, Junior.”