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Kia Motors has confirmed that production versions of the Soul concepts shown earlier this year at Geneva and at the 2006 Detroit show will keep the name and “spirit”.

The Korean automaker, a Hyundai Motors affiliate, also released the first official photograph of the production model.

“Reaction from the media and public to the three [concept cars]… has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Hyoung-Keun Lee, COO of international business.

“This new model will reach out to a new group of consumers appealing especially to the young and young-at-heart.”

The three Geneva concepts – Soul Burner, Diva and Searcher – were designed by a European team led by Gregory Guillaume, under the guidance of Kia’s chief design officer, Peter Schreyer. They were developed from the original designed jointly by Kia’s California and Korea design studios and unveiled in 2006 at Detroit.

Speaking about the choice of name for the original Detroit concept , Tom Kearns, chief designer of Kia Motors America noted: “We wanted to inject some life into this car’s design and give it a soul. And of course ‘Soul’ also is a homophone for [Kia’s Korean] home city [Seoul] so it’s a fun play on words.”

Production of this additional model to the Kia line begins in Korea next September and the production car makes its world debut at the Paris motor show in October.