What Went Wrong: 2009 Kia Borrego
Debuting with what I remember to be less acclaim than the Hyundai Genesis, Kia's Borrego debuted without any real Kia-badged predecessor. Therefore, this was new territory for Kia, and indeed with an optional V-8 and rugged off-roady intentions, Kia had never competed with an alternative to the Explorer, Grand Pathfinder, and 4Runner. Previous Sorentos and Sportages were trucks underneath, but none were as large or expensive as was the Borrego. But the Borrego sold so badly Kia pulled it from American showrooms quickly, with 2009 models being the only Borregos sold in the US. According to Wikipedia, Canadians couldn't buy it after the 2011 MY either.
My guess is that a number of things contributed to the failure of the Borrego. Firstly, it came at a bad time, nearly in the midst of the Great Recession. Then consider that this was released not long prior to competitors shifting away from truck-type SUVs and more toward crossovers. GM already had done this, Ford soon would, and so forth. That made the Borrego perhaps coarse to the findings of many consumers, who might've preferred the more car-like drive of some competing crossovers and in some cases superior economy. I don't think the bland styling of the exterior or interior helped it at all either. The vehicle itself seemed to be competitive enough as a real SUV, but simply came at the wrong time. Had it arrived five years earlier, even then it might have still been the wrong time due to Kia brand perceptions that were only just beginning to change. And of course today the market is almost completely devoid of truck-based SUVs. If it was still on sale, it'd have almost no real competitors outside of the 4Runner. As a result, Kia should skip this type of vehicle for the foreseeable future. However, something above the Sorento in size and price would make sense. The Kia Cross GT Concept looked great and if done well in production form, would be a nice three-row crossover for the Kia brand, one styled very differently from the Hyundai Sant Fe and hopefully differentiated well.
What say you? And in addition, do you think Kia could pursue this segment again, or is it best left to the past?