DETROIT – Kia Motors America will sell a production version of its Soul cross/utility vehicle that will closely resemble the concept unveiled at last year’s North American International Auto Show.

“It would look awfully close to the car you saw. Really close,” Ian Beavis, vice president-marketing, tells Ward’s at this year’s show.

Since the concept’s debut, Kia officials have been open about wanting the vehicle in the lineup.

Kia says the Soul will arrive in the U.S. in 2008.

The boxy Soul is powered by a 4-cyl., 2L engine mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. Designed without a B-pillar, it has a wraparound windshield and panoramic sunroof.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com