Analysis: why Kia UK is ready for a future EV Car News

10 Large 17106 KiaEV6GT

Strong sales and great interest in the new EV6, despite reduced subsidies, inspire UK Managing Director Paul Philpott

In the immediate wake of the pandemic and with the 2030 government ban on selling new ICE-only cars, 2021 has the potential to be a defining year for several brands in the UK, but little more than Kia.

The Korean maker’s first bespoke electric vehicle, after electric derivatives of the ICE-powered Niro and Soul, is the headline-grabbing EV6 performance crossover.

While it’s capable of outperforming the Porsche Taycan 4S in its most powerful GT form and offering a range of 316 miles of Jaguar I-Pace, it’s priced at just £ 40,895 – just £ 3,350 more than its Soul sibling. EV much less sporty.

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Kia UK Managing Director Paul Philpott told Autocar it’s because the EV6 is not a “demonstrable upgrade”; rather, it happily aligns with its open-minded approach to competition.

“We’re going to sit down against anyone,” he says, referring to the fact that the small city car Picanto will remain on sale alongside the EV6 GT, despite being five times cheaper.

Maintaining a certain degree of polarity in Kia showrooms is essential to the brand’s enduring appeal to a wide variety of consumers.

Buyers who come to see a basic Ceed are unlikely to be drawn to the twice as expensive, high-end Sorento parked next door, but Philpott maintains that this diversity is inherent in the accessibility and reputation of Kia.

“We’re still a relatively new brand in the UK,” he says. “We are 30 years old this year, while others have a 100 year history behind them. Kia’s notoriety is still not as strong as Ford’s or Mercedes-Benz’s, so we still have some work to do.

“By being in more segments for more different customers, we can increase awareness of Kia more quickly.”

To illustrate his point, Philpott notes that his 80-year-old mother drives a Venga, while his 20-year-old niece drives a Picanto. “We don’t limit ourselves to just one segment,” he says. “We are a volume brand for several different demographics.”

Kia’s current offering is one of the most diverse among any mainstream manufacturer. Prices start at £ 11,000 for the Picanto (the third cheapest car on offer in the UK), rise to just over £ 25,000 for the Niro Hybrid and reach £ 53,095 for version 4 of the top of the range of the Sorento PHEV lighthouse.

By the end of next year, the EV6 GT will be priced from £ 58,295 – which, while significantly cheaper than the higher-end EVs it compares to, is a big step forward. in the price scale for Kia.

Promisingly, there are all signs that UK consumers are more than happy to consider dominating Kias over their more established rivals. About 50% of Sorento plug-in hybrids, for example, are ordered in 4 versions, and the same goes for the slightly cheaper Sorento Hybrid.

“At the end of the day,” says Philpott, “it’s about ‘does it represent value for what you get as a product and what you pay for as a monthly payment? “. This means you have to guarantee high residual value, which is what we do with the Sorento, and customers vote with their wallets. £ 58,295 for the GT version of the EV6 doesn’t scare me in terms of price. “

Further down, Kia’s range of electric vehicles is the more accessible e-Niro, which, following the market introduction of the new 2 Long Range variant, remains eligible for the reduced government subsidy for vehicles. electric vehicles with its larger battery (64 kWh).

The low-volume Soul EV crossover narrowly misses the subsidy, as its prices start at £ 37,545.

Regarding Westminster’s decision to lower the subsidy threshold from £ 50,000 to £ 35,000 and the amount of the contribution for each car from £ 3,000 to £ 2,500, Philpott said: “I understand what people will argue: if you have £ 35,000 to £ 40,000 to spend on a new car, why do you need a government grant to do it? [However,] it creates an artificial cliff at a specific price. “

Philpott noted that several competitors have quickly cut prices for affected electric vehicles to ensure they stay below the threshold, but said “the customer won’t necessarily be better off.”

He explained, “The residual value is lower, because the list price is lower, they won’t have as much incentive and the dealer won’t have as much margin in the car.

“People have to look at this in its totality. If I had been consulted, I would have considered something more graduated.

The change means that, with the introduction of the EV6, only one of Kia’s three EVs will be eligible for the subsidy and only in its entry-level form. However, Philpott points to satisfactory levels of pre-launch interest in the EV6 as an indication that the brand is not entirely dependent on financial incentives to create demand for its electric vehicles.

In any case, the overall electrification of Kia …

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This notice was published: 2021-05-09 23:01:25