Borrego, we hardly knew ye. After months of speculation surrounding the future of Kia’s slow-selling SUV, the company told us today that it — along with the Rondo multi-passenger vehicle — are officially no more in the U.S. market.
Admittedly, Kia’s large, body-on-frame SUV has been on life support for almost the past year. After launching the Borrego in late 2008, Kia sold only 12,399 examples through the end of 2009, shy of the company’s original targets. As a result, the SUV went on hiatus for 2010, with dealers forced to sell leftover 2009 units in the interim. Thus far, they’ve managed to sell 9148 in 2010.
Speculation over the Borrego’s future was renewed this summer, when mention of a 2011 model appeared on the U.S. EPA’s official fuel economy website. At the time, a Kia representative told us the SUV was once again under consideration for the company’s U.S. portfolio, but it wasn’t “a done deal.” Apparently not — expect to see the Borrego disappear from our shores altogether.
We’re likewise not surprised to bid adieu to the funky Rondo people mover. Although the seven-passenger MPV performed admirably in the first two years in the U.S., sales have plummeted ever since. Thus far in 2010, Kia has sold only 3455 examples, a far cry from the 12,545 it sold during the same period in 2009. Rondo sales totaled 14,206 in 2009, which was down from the 28,645 sold in 2008, and the 26,020 figure posted in 2007.
Will killing both models leave a gaping hole in Kia’s lineup? Not likely. Borrego buyers looking for a seven-seat vehicle — especially with some SUV flavor — will likely find solace in the new 2011 Sorento (After launching the vehicle in January, Kia has sold 88,783 in the U.S. to date). The Rondo was certainly a niche, segment-busting vehicle, but the automaker is reportedly considering replacing it, along with the larger Sedona minivan, with a new model that targets the forthcoming Ford Grand C-Max.