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Could Kia be the new Scion?

Is Kia the new Scion? From the looks of these customized Fortes and Souls at the 2009 SEMA Show, it may just be.

Koni Challenge Kia Koup
Squint your eyes and its easy to see how this Kia Koup resembles the Scion tC. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Is Kia the new Scion? That's the question I kept asking myself over and over again as I tested the 2010 Scion xB, all the while comparing it to the 2010 Kia Soul. (Although to be fair, the Soul is closer in size to a tall xD than the xB.)

At the 2009 SEMA Show, I was able to get a closer look at the way Kia is embracing the aftermarket and its array of Kia-branded dealer-installed mods. What I saw reminded me of Scion's first years, which featured partnerships with well known tuners and an array of TRD-branded dealer-installed options, so I don't think its a stretch to draw parallels between the two brands' paths.

Take a look at a selection of the custom Kias at the 2009 SEMA Show, then let us know what you think in the comments.