- The 2015 Kia Sedona minivan will get major changes to the chassis, engine, exterior and interior, Edmunds has learned.
- This will be the first major change for the Korean minivan since it was introduced in 2005.
- Kia wants to position the Sedona to compete better against such rivals as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
MINNEAPOLIS — Kia wants to shake up the school carpool parking lot by introducing some major changes to the 2015 Kia Sedona minivan.
The automaker is developing a redesigned Sedona minivan that will bow next year.
This will be the first significant change to the Sedona since that minivan was introduced in 2005. It is an effort to make Kia more competitive with the industry's leaders, the Chrysler Town & County, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna minivans.
Stephanie Brinley, a senior analyst for the Americas at IHS Automotive, told Edmunds that the 2015 Sedona arriving next year is a "brand new vehicle. There will be major changes to the chassis, engine, exterior and interior."
Brinley said October 2014 is the likely month when U.S. sales will begin.
Kia has been in and out of the minivan market. The current generation Sedona was reintroduced this past spring as a 2014 model after skipping the 2013 model year. Production for the United States was halted so three areas of the minivan could be re-engineered to meet regulatory standards.
Orth Hedrick, Kia Motors America's director of product planning, told Edmunds that the front passenger airbag and the gasoline tank were replaced for the 2014 Sedona, and a vehicle data recorder, sometimes called a "black box," was added.
A mild redesign of the minivan includes an updated front bumper and grille and standard foglamps. All Sedonas now feature storage compartments for iPads and smart tablets. The minivan has a base price of $26,750, including an $850 destination charge.
As for the future, Kia Motors America representatives will not say if or when a Sedona redesign is planned.
"Stay tuned," Kia's Tom Loveless told Edmunds. "That is our minivan entry today and we expect to be in the minivan segment for the foreseeable future."
Loveless is executive vice president of sales for Kia Motors America.
Although Loveless would not say if a decision has been made on a redesign, he did admit that minivans make up "such an interesting segment."
"It is fairly stable, 500,000 or so, but if you really look at it, it is two segments in one," he said. "Young families occupy one, and Honda and Toyota fight over leadership there."
Loveless said retirees compose the other portion of the segment. They are buyers on a fixed income shopping value and price.
"Chrysler does well in that portion of the segment. They don't do a lot in the other half. That is dominated by Toyota and Honda," said Loveless during an interview at a Kia event here.
"If we are going to continue in the minivan segment, which half do we go after? Of course, that will be another story for another day. But I think for the young family there is always going to be a need for a minivan."
Edmunds says: Will Kia copy Honda and put a vacuum in the next Sedona? Or a coffee maker?