Frankfurt Motor Show— the world’s biggest car expo — is in full swing this week, and Kia is among the automakers revealing their latest wares.
Along with the all-new version of the Soul, Kia has brought along a much more exciting concept, dubbed the Niro.
The Korean automaker calls the “playful but gutsy, sturdy yet impish” car a “hero for the city.”
To cut through the marketing speak, it’s a concept made to test European taste for a new B-Segment competitor.
The B-Segment, also dubbed Supermini, is made up of small, usually hatchback, cars, often with more fun and unusual styling than the typical sedan. It’s a big deal in Europe, and steadily becoming more important in the US.
If a more staid version of the Niro does make it into production, it could well jump to American shores, to compete with more established B-Segment entries like the Ford Fiesta and Nissan Juke.
We like what we see so far. Here’s hoping it makes it into production (after a few changes).
The Niro didn't come to Germany all the way from Seoul. It was developed at Kia's Frankfurt Design Studio, less than a kilometer from the show grounds.
Kia says the Niro 'combines a mischievous character in a clearly robust and substantial yet stylish bodyshape featuring a mix of contrasting materials in compact, purposeful dimensions.'
Our translation: 'The Niro is an unusual looking car we made to gauge European public interest before creating another B-Segment competitor.'
The B-Segment, also dubbed Supermini, is a big deal in Europe. The small, usually hatchback, cars accounted for 36.4% of sales in the UK in 2012, up from 33.9% in 2003.
B-Segment cars tend to be more stylised, so they can either be much cooler than the typical sedan, or just plain ugly (like the Juke).
Any production car based on the Niro would go head to head against popular cars like the Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, and Nissan Juke.
It would likely be less unusual-looking than the Niro (probably with smoother lines and conventional doors) before hitting the road.
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