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Kia Sets New January Sales Records In the US, Off To Roaring Start For 2023

Kia just had its best ever sales results in the US for January, 2023. This is Kia’s sixth consecutive monthly sales record and a pretty good sign that the global supply chain issues that plagued all car manufacturers are no longer (much of) a problem. There are some details in Kia’s January sales figures worth investigating in order to study how their model lineup is doing and where it may be on track to grow the most.

First, Kia’s sales increased by 22.3%, year over year (YOY). Even more significant, in terms of percentage increases, was the 128% YOY increase in Kia’s electrified vehicle sales. That sounds spectacular, but we definitely need to take a closer look at this figure because it may be slightly less impressive than it sounds when you consider: in January 2022, Kia only had one fully electric vehicle on sale, the Niro EV. Until late 2022 Kia only sold the previous (first) generation Niro EV in the US, which never managed to crack 30,000 units sold of all three variants (EV, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and hybrid (HEV)) combined. Also consider that Kia was struggling with supply chain issues a year ago, and its total sales were down, and hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles required more components (semiconductors in particular) which meant Kia very likely couldn’t produce as many as it would otherwise have intended to. Finally, consider that even though January 2023 electrified vehicles sales were up significantly YOY, as best as I can tell that is still predominantly due to hybrid (both plug-in and standard), rather than significant increased EV sales. Undoubtedly though, there were still more Kia EVs sold in the US in January 2023 than January 2022 and here’s about how much of a difference there was.

Kia sold 1,110 EV6s last month, as well as 3,713 Niros (again of all three variants). Since no EV6s were sold in the US last January, that’s a big part of its YOY increase in EV sales. But those Niro sales are actually more impressive and indicate the emergence of stronger demand for its new 2023 model as January Niro sales were up 65% YOY and up 194% compared to 2021. In fact Niro sales were up over 100% for any January that the Niro has ever been on sale in the US! So we can conclude that 1. Kia is able to supply more Niro units to the US than it has in recent years and 2. The 2023 Niro models are selling very well, comparatively, and demand for them could lead to a huge uptick in sales if Kia can keep dealers supplied with enough product and take steps to make it even more competitive, which I expect Kia will do (even if those are only small steps). We must keep in mind though that the majority of Kia’s Niro sales are still the HEV model (somewhere around 65%), and the EV models are likely only about 25% of the total (with the remaining 10% or so being the PHEV model). So, assuming that in January 2022, Niro EV sales were also around 25% of sales, that means Kia only sold about 564 EVs in January 2022 (out of 2,254 total Niros sold).

Since Kia doesn’t break out the sales of their hybrid models from their other models, and Niro EV models are also combined with the sales of its hybrid versions, we can only estimate Kia’s combined electrified vehicle sales for any given time period. But there were 4,823 units of the EV6 and Niro (all variants) sold in Jan 2023, vs 2,254 of the Niro in 2022 (remember, no EV6’s last January). Since that represents about a 113% increase, without including any increase in sales of Kia’s other electrified vehicles, the Sorento PHEV and HEV as well as the Sportage PHEV and HEV, that means that the other electrified Kias only saw a small combined increase (or possibly decreases, if one variant saw significantly more sales than the other). I estimate that there was less than a 15% sales increase for these 3 electrified Kia SUV models, YOY. Note, I said 3 models, but listed 4 just above and that is because the Sportage PHEV wasn’t on sale in the US last January either, and as such the small increase could be entirely attributed to the Sportage PHEV, or it could be some mix of all 4 (more likely). That 15% or so increase for these 4 electrified models combined would likely add up to something like an additional 300-350 units sold, and most of those would likely be the Sportage hybrids because its combined sales were up 44% YOY compared to the Sorento’s 2% increase. Finally, that works out to perhaps a little over 2,000 Kia EVs sold in January 2023, and about 3,100 or so hybrids of one type or the other.

With sales for all of their vehicles up double digit percentages for January 2023 YOY (save 3 models), things are definitely looking up for Kia. Are you impressed with Kia’s electric, or electrified, vehicle sales last month? Do stats like this sway your opinion at all, or perhaps encourage you to look at Kia the next time you are in the market for a new vehicle? Please leave your comments and questions below.

Images courtesy of Kia.

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 Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.