Kia Attempts to Grab VW’s EV Limelight

Kia is attempting to hang on Volkswagen’s EV coat-tails by announcing an electrification strategy that will see it launch 11 new BEVs launched by 2025.

While that is more than the seven members of its electric ID. family so far announced by the German automaker, the Korean company, part of the Hyundai Group, will not be investing quite so much into its new Plan S strategy announced this week. VW has pledged an EV war chest of $30Bn by 2023 while Hyundai’s plan is to sink around $25Bn into its strategy but by two years later.

It is also a little less ambitious about projections over its mix of EVs versus ICE products predicting just 20% of its sales will be electric in five years time while VW say as much as 40% of its total car production will be electric, albeit by 2030. To be fair, Kia is a much smaller company than the German giant now standing breathing down the neck of the global sales leader, Toyota.

Kia, too, does not suffer from the frenetic energy being expelled by VW to bury the memory of the Dieselgate scandal which has damaged its reputation and continues to hammer its bottom line in potential further consumer compensation and regulatory fines for employing cheat-devices to record lower emission ratings.

However, the roster of product already in the pipeline does swing the advantage to VW which has just launched the first of a new generation of pure BEVs in the shape of the ID.3, ID. Crozz, ID. Buzz, ID. Vizzion, ID. Buggy, ID. Roomzz and the latest concept release ID. Space Vizzion. These will take up the baton from its existing e-Golf and e-up! models while Hyundai has been less active boasting just the e-Soul and the e-Niro released at the beginning of 2019.

Yet, it is obviously eyeing up its chances of securing a large slice of the EV market as it aims to achieve a 6.6% share of the western global EV market, outside of China, while also attaining a 25% of its sales from its electrified vehicle powertrains. In this way it hopes that by 2026, Kia is aiming for 500,000 annual EV sales and global sales of one million of other “eco-friendly vehicles”.

Announcing the plan, Kia Motors president and CEO, Han-woo Park, said: “As the auto industry undergoes turbulent changes, today is also an opportune time for Kia Motors to radically transform itself into a global enterprise dedicated to spearheading customer value-led innovations. Kia Motors will actively innovate to take on the challenges ahead, identifying and capitalising on new opportunities to propel the company forward.

“Plan S is a bold and enterprising roadmap for Kia’s future business transition, buttressed by the two pillars of electric vehicles and mobility solutions. Our approach is to put customers first and Kia will reinvigorate its brand innovation by developing products and services that offer new experiences for customers.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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