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Kia’s future plans include two electric utes by 2026

on March 25 2022 | in Highlights, Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

Rarely has a car that’s days away from being launched in New Zealand come with such a glowing collection of international awards as the Kia EV6, the 2022 European Car of the Year.

Aside from the prestigious Euro gong, the all-electric crossover (above) won Germany’s 2022 Red Dot Design (RDD) award for what the 50-strong panel of judges said was its “pioneering and forward-looking design”.  In fact the EV6 won two RDD categories – the ‘Best of the Best’ and ‘Innovative Products’.

The EV6 has also picked up numerous other awards, including Germany’s premium car of the year and Top Gear magazine’s crossover of the year. Another British magazine, What Car?, made it the 2022 COTY.

Further complementing the accolades is a gong from the United States for the carmaker itself.  Kia has done what no other mainstream manufacturer has – been judged the top brand overall in consumer watchdog  J.D.Power’s 2022 vehicle dependability study.

It is the first time in the 33-year history of the annual US awards that a non-premium nameplate has won the main prize. Kia last year finished third behind Porsche and Lexus.

The South Korean carmaker opened for business in New Zealand in 2005, largely in the shadow of its affiliate Hyundai. These days it’s the other way round. The numbers from the Motor Industry Assoc. over the past 10 years tell the story of Kia’s climb up the ranks.

  • In 2012, Kia sold 2907 vehicles to finish 11th out of the top 15
  • In 2012, Hyundai sold 7127 for 3rd place
  • In 2021, Kia sold 10,183 for 4th place
  • In 2021, Hyundai sold 8019 for 7th place

Kia’s sales in the past 10 years have therefore grown by 250%, Hyundai’s by 12.5%. The No. 1 high flyer in the 2012-2021 decade was Mitsubishi. It sold 3223 vehicles (6th) in 2012 and 20,140 (2nd) in 2021 – that’s growth of 525%.

Of the three other top five players last year, Toyota’s 29,258 sales were up 95% on 14,992 in 2012; Ford’s 17,286 up 126% on 7653 in 2012; Mazda’s 9255 up 79% on 5180 in 2012.

Of course Kia is the only member of the top five without a ute. But that will soon change – the carmaker’s HQ has confirmed it will launch two battery-electric utes within the next few years.

Kia EV ute

It’s not clear whether Kia will build a bigger one for the US to tackle the likes of the Ford F-150 and a smaller one-tonner to compete in markets like New Zealand and Australia. Both will reportedly benefit from over-the-air software updates.

Kia said in a statement: “In the United States, where mid-sized SUVs and pickups are popular, electric versions of these models will be produced locally from 2024.”

In the same briefing it confirmed “all BEV (battery-electric) models” will offer a high-performance GT variant,  including the new utes.

Kia said it will launch at least two new electric vehicles each year, starting next year with the EV9 (above). It’s a 5m-long, Hyundai Palisade-sized SUV offering about 540km of driving range, a 0-100km/h time of five seconds, and fast charging capability allowing 100km of range to be added in six minutes.

Kia is aiming at 807,000 electric vehicle sales in 2026, ahead of 1.2 million global sales in 2030. The 2030 goal is a 36% increase on the sales target announced last year.







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