Kia plans to offer Soul electric car in U.S. next year

Reuters

DETROIT, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Kia Motors Corp plansto sell an electric version of its second-generation Soulcompact car in the United States next year, the Koreanautomaker's U.S. unit said on Tuesday.

Kia will start selling the Soul EV in 2014 in a handful ofU.S. markets.

But before then, Kia will start selling an updated versionof a gas-powered Soul this month.

The Soul EV marks Kia's first all-electric model aimed atthe U.S. market, where electric car sales have fallen short ofautomakers' previous estimates, but are still rising.

The company shared few other details about the Soul EV,saying more information would be released at an upcoming U.S.auto show that a U.S.-based Kia spokesman declined to disclose.

The next major U.S. show will be held in late November inLos Angeles, where automakers traditionally show vehicles withadvanced powertrains, like hybrids, plug-in hybrids and EVs.

The Soul EV adds a second "green" car to Kia's U.S. lineupafter the hybrid version of the Optima sedan that it beganoffering in 2011.

During the first nine months of 2013, the Soul was Kia's No.2 best-selling model after the Optima.

Soul sales have dropped 3 percent during that time, betterthan the 4.3 percent decline for Kia overall, but still short ofthe roughly 8 percent rise for the overall U.S. auto market.

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