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2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed
When Kia made its U.S. launch in 1994 with a single model, the company simply carried over the Sephia name for the compact sedan, a name that had been created for, and used in, the Korean market.
"We weren't able to do any substantial market research concerning the vehicle name when we launched," said [B.M. Ahn, president and CEO of Kia Motors America]. "So we went with Sephia but always knew that at some point it would change, especially because it was so often mispronounced."
As to why they changed the body style (not the same as the Spectra, actually a new body but on the Spectra platform), I personally think the new style is a big improvement over the old one. Cars are typically reskinned every few years, and the Sephia was due. Note that although Kia's sales increased 25% in September from a year ago, the Sephia was the only Kia car model to lose sales compared to last year. So a fresh design was called for.
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