Last week, electrek.com shared news about these incentives. For starters, buyers may be eligible for a loan rate as low as 3.25%, for a period of 48 months (or 3.99% for 60 months, 4.99% for 72, or 6.49% for 84 months). Additionally, according to a memo to Kia dealers, Kia is offering a $3,750 Customer Cash credit for US buyers, at launch. The incentives don’t stop there though. For those preferring a lease, Kia also offers a 36 month term at $599 per month with $5,999 due at signing, similar to what is on offer for their top spec Telluride model. According to reports from prospective customers on social media, EV9’s should be showing up on dealer lots sometime in the next 3 weeks or so. Certainly, those who have interest in the vehicle will be at least generally interested in these incentives, especially considering that the EV9 does not currently qualify for the federal tax incentives that are part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Thus, one would think the incentives will help sell more EV9s.
But there’s a few details here that Kia may, or may not, be trying to obscure. First, if Kia is only offering these incentives at launch, or for the first few weeks or months of its on sale date in the US, only a very small number of people are going to be able to take advantage of them. This is assuming of course that Kia is not intending to keep offering these incentives for a lengthier period of time. Assuming Kia will only offer the incentives for a short time, Kia may struggle to deliver more than a few dozen to several hundred EV9s to the US market during that time given that Kia’s production ramp for all its other EVs has been gradual, at best. Consider the EV6 and its sales trajectory in the US: after its first 2 months of increasing sales in the US, EV6 sales began sliding mostly downward for the next 13 months. Year-over-year to date (through the end of October), Kia’s EV6 sales are actually down 13% (and that could be considered a slightly skewed figure given that the EV6 was only on sale for about 11 months in 2022). The EV9 will cost significantly more than the EV6 and, much like Kia’s Telluride compared to its Sportage, is likely to sell in lower volumes than the compact sized EV6 (simply due to market preferences/cost for that size of vehicle compared to mid-sized). Added to this is the tendency of dealerships, especially Kia’s, to add significant market adjustments or “markups” (which ultimately discourage sales). All of this together is what leads me to think that Kia’s sales incentives for the EV9 will only be successful if they: 1. Manage to supply sufficient product to meet demand and 2. Are successful at keeping the greed of their dealers in check. Since the EV9 supply is going to be tight, at least initially, incentives seem more like a means to combat the latter of the two issues (dealer markups), rather than encourage more people to choose a Kia EV in the first place. Thus, I view these incentives as more of a good will building exercise on Kia’s part, to build trust and interest in the brand and help encourage patience until they are able to catch up with demand.
But what do you think? Are these incentives going to directly impact sales? If not, what do you think may work better? Please leave your questions and comments below.
Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 15 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 Torque News Kia or X for regular electric and hybrid news coverage.