Kia Sales Got Soul While Tesla's U.S. Sales Are Superbad

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are some inflection points where industries have to adjust to inevitable trends in the human condition.  For example, Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) has capitalized on the trend of consuming healthier foods.

Another major trend is people are becoming taller and older.  In response to this, clothes are sold in larger size, and health care spending is going up.  One more company capitalizing on people becoming taller and older is Kia (KIMTF), which has designed a compact car to better fit those of us who are taller and older.

Kia launched its first Soul model a few years ago, and for the first seven months of 2014 U.S. sales are 90,000, up 23% from a year ago.  For comparison, Tesla's (TSLA) U.S. sales are down by 26% for the first half of 2014, and that's for approximately 80% fewer cars sold.

Perhaps Kia should take its Soul business public and demand a $150 billion market cap for this product line -- seeing as it's selling five times as many cars as Tesla with its inverted growth profile -- and actually making money instead of burning it?

But I digress.  Back to the Soul, as a car.

A key reason the Kia Soul has seen one of the strongest sales increases of any kind of car in the U.S. market in 2014 is because it revised the Soul model a few months ago.  The car was updated with better looks on the outside and a more refined and feature-rich interior.

You may say: America has already had numerous kinds of cars for tall and older people.  We had a minivan wave in the 1980s and 1990s followed by an SUV wave in the last 15 years.

That's right, but those have tended to be larger and heavier cars.  Minivans are long and SUVs are heavy. That has also tended to make them more expensive, all other things equal.

Yes, you can pick up a no-frills Mazda 5 or Dodge Caravan for around $20,000, but they will have very little equipment for that kind of price.  Also, some people prefer a car with an even smaller footprint -- aka shorter -- that's easier to park.

The Kia Soul is essentially a front-wheel drive compact car that has been put on stilts, making it easy to get in and out.  Headroom space has also expanded, and rear seat room is terrific.  Luggage space is modest, but very well-shaped and you can expand it easily.

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