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The 2020 Kia Telluride Is Selling So Well, Kia Refers to It as the “Sell-u-ride”

Nearly one year after its debut, the three-row family hauler’s sales are holding strong.

Kia's new Telluride three-row SUV is insanely popular right now. We know it, because it is good and based on the stories you readers have gobbled up, and Kia knows it, because Tellurides are flying off dealer lots like cows in tornadoes. And wouldn't you know it, Kia is excited—so excited, in fact, that its people now refer to the Telluride as the "Sell-u-ride." At least, according to James Bell, Kia's Director of Corporate Communications, who shared the amusing internal nickname with us at the recent launch of the two-sizes-smaller Seltos.

Yes, it is pronounced "sell-you-ride," in a riff on the Tell-you-ride's name. But Telluride sales are no joke—after launching in 2019, the SUV has burst into 2020 like the Kool-Aid man through a wall. Kia has already moved 4,919 of its handsome people-mover in January. The Telluride sold 5,080 in March 2019, its first full month of sales, meaning the thing hasn't lost much, if any, sales steam in nearly a year. Units are only sticking around on dealer lots for 7 to 9 days, according Bell. In total, Kia sold 58,604 examples of the Telluride last year, a figure sure to improve this year with a full twelve months of sales.

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Popularity doesn't necessarily mean sales dominance. Kia is small, remember, relative to the big dogs, and long-established mainstream three-row competitors such as the Ford Explorer handily out-sell the Kia. Ford moved 187,061 Explorers in 2019, and the newest model made its debut around the same time as the 2020 Telluride did. Since Ford offers its sales figures on a quarterly, not monthly, basis, we don't yet know how many Explorers made their way out of showrooms in January. Toyota moved even more Highlanders recently, with 17,009 sold this January and 239,437 throughout 2019. Lower-volume rival Volkswagen sold 81,508 examples of the Atlas last year. Like Ford, it doesn't report monthly figures.

Even if Kia doesn't sell as many Tellurides as its competitors in the segment, the SUV's sales comprise a whopping 12.19% of the brand's 40,355 sales so far in 2020. Perhaps the addition of an off-road-ish X-Line trim—like that on the front-drive Soul hatchback—could persuade even more buyers to take one home. And unlike Ford or Toyota, Kia can only build so many Tellurides. It recently committed to upping annual production to 100,000 units to meet demand. Looks like as the SUV continues to selluride, Kia will builduride to match.