Skip to main content

Kia Achieves Record Breaking October 2022 Sales

Earlier this week, Kia reported its U.S. sales figures for the month of October and the news was good! Kia notched up a few new sales records last month, in fact. Yet, amongst all the good news, there are also some less positive details that beg the question: Is Kia really on track to achieve its U.S. sales goals for the year?

More specifically, is Kia on track to meet their electrified vehicle sales goals for this year? Inside EVs previously reported that Kia’s global sales goals for 2022 totaled up to a little over 3.4 million vehicles. Keep in mind that these goals were set about two years ago though. In any case, Kia wants to sell more cars than they did last year, or any year before. But so far Kia is more than 31,000 sales behind where they were at this point last year.

So let’s look at those numbers more closely shall we? Starting with the good news, Kia reported that Oct 2022 U.S. sales were up 3.9% over the previous record setting year, Oct. 2020, and electrified vehicle sales were up a very healthy 101%, year-over-year. In addition, four of Kia’s models posted double-digit sales increases last month, and one posted a triple digit increase. Those models are: the Seltos (with a 37% increase), the Forte (19% increase), the Sorento (18% increase), the Niro (16% increase) and the Sportage (118% increase). This all sounds fantastic, and undoubtedly it does represent positive trends.

There are some things to pick apart in this good news though. The first two in the list are not “electrified” for starters. The Sorento comes in plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) versions, as does the Sportage, and the Niro is only offered in electrified forms as an EV, PHEV or HEV. In September, the Niro’s sales were one of the worst, if not the worst, months it has ever had, selling only 191 units, so it had a very low bar to start with. Another Niro related detail: the all new and completely redesigned 2023 model went on sale in the U.S. in October, however the only variant anyone could buy in the U.S. in October was the HEV version. The Niro EV should be going on sale later this month, followed by the PHEV version near the end of the year, I believe. That means zero 2023 Niro PHEVs or EVs were sold in the U.S. last month. Regarding the Sorento and Sportage, Kia does not separately report the number of HEV and PHEV versions it sells. But Kia did state that electrified sales were up 101%, and since the EV6 sales for October were also down (it had its worst U.S. sales month so far in fact), it really means that the lion's share of Kia’s electrified sales growth last month were from hybrids of one sort or the other. Just how many, we can’t be sure because Kia isn’t telling us. But if they were hitting their goals as stated last year, 13.4% of their global sales would be electrified in 2022. If we simply applied that figure to their U.S. monthly sales total (58,276 vehicles), that would mean that Kia should have sold a little over 7,800 electrified vehicles in the U.S. last month, and a year ago that number was about 3,900.

Now, if we subtract Kia’s October EV6 sales of 1,186, that means a little over 6,600 of Kia’s (crudely) estimated U.S. electrified sales last month were hybrids (and almost half of those were Niro HEVs). Comparing figures to the same month last year shows us that Kia’s EV sales for October are only up modestly, in the neighborhood of 400 - 500 additional vehicles, almost all of which are the EV6 this year versus just the Niro EV last year. It also suggests that Kia sold about 1,200 or so Sorento HEVs and PHEVs in October last year. Thus we can deduce for this October that perhaps roughly 3,500 electrified Sorento and Sportage models were sold in the U.S., assuming Kia is close to their electrified sales goals. That means, finally, that Kia’s 101% increase was primarily due to the 2023 Niro HEV, as well as a big jump in electrified Sorento and Sportage sales, and only about 11-12% of that growth came from increased EV sales. So that’s good, but I think Kia may still be missing the mark in the U.S., at least for EV sales.

What do you think? Please leave your comments and questions below.

Image courtesy of Kia.

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.