The Kia Soulster concept’s exterior designer brings his parents to the Detroit Auto Show.
A lot of parents have no idea what their adult children do at their jobs, but Mike Torpey’s mom and dad definitely do. They were on hand today when the Kia Soulster, which Mike helped design, was unveiled at the 2009 Detroit auto show. I arrived at the Kia stand just in time to see Mike’s parents, who were hesitant to upstage their talented son, pose for a picture next to the concept car with him. They were in Detroit from New York, where Mike grew up.
Mike, a graduate of the College for Creative Studies here in Detroit, has worked at the Kia design studio in Irvine, California, for four years, having followed his mentor, Tom Kearns, from GM, where both of them worked in the Cadillac studio. Mike, who worked on the original Soul concept from the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, says the Soulster concept, with its roll-back canvas roof, is a car he and his colleagues designed for themselves: “I know it sounds like a cliche, but we live in Southern California, and we [the Kia designers in Irvine] realized early on that we were largely the target customers for the Soulster. We mountain bike, we surf, we do all that stuff.”
As for when we could see the Soulster in production, Mike couldn’t confirm anything, but he did point out that the Soul is just now coming to market, three years after the concept he helped design appeared here at Detroit. We’d venture that the Soulster could and should come to market a lot sooner than three years from now, especially since the entire front end of the vehicle is virtually identical to the Soul.