Kia Motors Corp. will unveil the Ex_cee’d convertible, the first concept vehicle developed under new design chief Peter Schreyer, at next month’s Geneva auto show.

The cabrio will debut alongside Kia’s first hybrid-electric vehicle concept, the Rio Hybrid. A production version of the HEV is slated to hit the market in 2008.

The Ex_cee’d is based on the prototype version of the 3-door Cee’d Sporty Hatch that goes into production in December. It shares the same wheelbase, floorpan and other components, but the exterior is entirely new and features a slightly wedge-shaped profile with extended wing flares over 19-in. alloy wheels and soft-cloth convertible top.

“I’m convinced the fabric roof will have a renaissance,” Schreyer says in a statement. “We’ve all lived with the romantic idea of open-air driving for a long time and for me, metal-roofed cabrios are not truly in tune with this emotional conditioning.”

The Ex_cee’d is finished in Meringue White with a contrasting Bitter Chocolate fabric roof. The 2-tone color scheme is repeated in vehicle’s interior.

“With this new cabrio concept car, Kia has demonstrated it is a young, style-conscious company that knows how to combine elegance with dynamics,” Kim Yong-Hwan, Kia senior executive vice president and chief operating officer, says.

“The Kia Ex_cee’d is a fresh aesthetic high point in our history; an encouraging sign of the growing internationalization of our brand and a step in the process of evolving into a European company with Korean roots,” he adds.

The Rio hybrid concept has a powertrain jointly developed with Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. that features a 1.4L, 90-hp 4-cyl. gas engine and compact 16-hp (12-kW) electric motor.

Kia is working with the Korean Environment Ministry to place a fleet of 400 Rio HEVs in a massive on-road test.