The Kia ex_cee'd convertible (they call 'em "cabrios" across the pond) concept has been announced as a bonofide debut for the Korean automaker at the Geneva Motor Show early next month. This puppy's more important than a normal concept car from Kia because it was the first one produced under the stewardship of Peter Schreyer, Kia's new design chief. As the name implies, the ex-cee'd is based on the three-door cee'd hatchback that's scheduled to go on sale late 2007 or early next year. Schreyer makes a point to note that his concept doesn't sport a folding metal roof like so many cabrios of the day, but rather adopts a traditional "romantic" soft top to protect its occupants from the elements. The 19-inch wheels feature "hubless" spokes finished in chrome, and bright metal trimwork is used around the exterior to add highlights to the vehicle's surface. We especially like the chrome strip located beneath the doors that ensures the complex surfacing doesn't get lost in the 'meringue white' paint job. Unfortunately, we can't tell you what sort of engine powers the ex_cee'd because Kia didn't tell us. Regardless, this concept is a coming out party for Kia design, which has matured so much in just a few short years.
Joining the ex_cee'd on the Kia stage in Geneva wil be the cee'd station wagon and the Kia Rio Hybrid. We'll report back on all three from the show floor in early March.
GENEVA WORLD PREMIERE FOR SCHREYER'S KIA ex_cee'd CABRIO CONCEPT
Kia's exciting all-new ex_cee'd cabrio concept car will be premiered at the 77th Salon de l'Automobiles in Geneva, Switzerland on 6 March.
The styling of the eagerly anticipated ex_cee'd cabrio is the work of Peter Schreyer, Kia's new Chief Design Officer, and hints at the future direction Kia vehicles could be taking under his guidance.
Based on the new three-door cee'd hatchback, due to go into production at the Zilina factory in Slovakia from December, the ex_cee'd shares the same platform, but features all-new exterior panels and a powered folding fabric roof.
By adopting a fabric roof, the ex_cee'd deliberately goes its own retro way rather than following the trend towards cabrios with folding metal roofs. Peter Schreyer paid special attention to designing a classic cabrio with a traditional soft-top roof: "I'm convinced that the fabric roof will have a renaissance. We've all lived with the romantic idea of open-air driving for a long time and for me, the fabric roof is the quintessential element of a truly rewarding cabrio."
With its slight wedge shape profile, muscular wings over 19-inch alloy wheels, and aggressive nose with dynamic front styling, the ex_cee'd has instantly found a form that stands out from the cabrio crowd. The cabrio concept is finished in 'meringue white' exterior paint with a 'bitter chocolate' fabric roof – colours that are echoed by the interior's two-tone leather.
"With this new cabrio concept car, Kia has once again demonstrated that it is a young, style-conscious company that knows how to combine elegance with dynamics," enthused Mr Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive Vice President and COO Kia Motors.
"The Kia ex_cee'd is a fresh aesthetic high-point in our history, an encouraging sign of the growing internationalisation of our brand and a step in the process of evolving into a European company with Korean roots," he added.