We’ve heard murmurs of a Kia pickup truck for years. Years. Way back in 2004, we saw a Mojave pickup concept shown in the U.S. But it never materialized. Then, in 2018, we heard Kia was going to build a compact truck on the same platform as the Hyundai Santa Cruz. It didn’t. But now, we definitively have the Kia Tasman, which will hit the streets in 2025.

What is this Kia pickup truck, and what are the chances of seeing it Stateside? What we know so far is interesting.

Kia Tasman is midsize?

In a recent Kia Global press release, the automaker calls the it a C-segment pickup truck. A what? While my Google skills failed to find an exact definition for the truck, C-segment when it refers to cars, means “medium sized.” Plus, other publications have stated it would take on the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux. All, that leads me to deduce that the Kia Tasman will be a midsize pickup truck.

Though the press release doesn’t state it, we also assume it will be a body-on-frame construction because Kia states the Tasman will have “work-focused capability.” The release also points that this pickup truck will also suit market needs for off-road vehicles in diverse terrains.

Kia released an official image with heavy camouflage, but you can see some of the details, including beefy tires, headlights reminiscent of the Telluride and some chunky cladding over the wheels. This specific model is a crew cab with a short bed, and it’s TBD if there will be any other cab/bed configurations. But given the midsize segments proclivity for this specific configuration, we don’t think there will be.

Where will it be built?

There is also little information on where this pickup truck will be built, which will absolutely affect the final will-we-get-it-in-the-U.S. question. However, since the name “Tasman” comes from “Tasmania,” an island at the southernmost tip of Australia and the camouflaged wrap was influenced by Australian landscapes by an Australian artist, we can make an educated guess.

And it’s not Australia.

However, since this is clearly destined for the Australian market, and Australian Kias are mostly built in South Korea, the Kia Tasman will likely be built in, you guessed it, South Korea.

Will it come to the U.S.?

And the build location is why it might not make it to the U.S. There’s this thing called the “Chicken Tax,” which dates back to the 1960s and levies high tariffs on imported pickup trucks. It’s what doomed the Kia Mojave concept back in 2004.

Unlike Australia, the U.S. does have a Kia plant within our borders, located in West Point, Georgia. It builds the Telluride, Sorento and Sportage SUVs, and it will soon take on the EV9. It produces 350,000 vehicles a year and operates 3 shifts a day, 24 hours a day.

Could this plant, which already appears to be at capacity, take on another vehicle? Maybe. Vehicles built here ship not only to the U.S. but also to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Middle East and Pacific nations. Since other nations aren’t subject to the Chicken Tax, if the plant cuts back on exports, there could be room for a new vehicle on a completely different platform. Possibly.

The other consideration is if the American market would take to a South Korean pickup truck. For example, if you look at the Ford Maverick sales vs. Hyundai Santa Cruz sales, it might give a person pause. In 2023, the Maverick sold 94k units vs Santa Cruz’s 37k units.

The bottom line

So, the nut of this story is this: The Kia Tasman will be a midsize truck. The end.

Just kidding. Kind of. We also know via the non-info-specific press release that it will initially be sold in Australia, Korea, Africa and the Middle East.

As for a U.S. model? TBD. But the trusty Magic 8 Ball says: “Signs point to no.”

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