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Kia Sets Second Best Monthly Sales Total Ever, Hybrid Sportage And Sorento Lead Electrified Surge

Kia continues its hot streak with another month of record US vehicle sales. Interestingly, their electrified vehicle sales continue to be dominated by hybrids, and just two models are responsible for their 33% year-over-year monthly sales increase: the Sportage and the Sorento.


Of course Kia makes two different types of hybrids, and in this case I am focusing on the Sorento Hybrid (HEV) and Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and the Sportage HEV and PHEV. Their other HEV/PHEV (and EV) model, the Niro, actually saw its sales in May decline by 10%, according to Kia. But hold on a second you say, Kia does not report out its sales of hybrid vehicles separate from their gas only versions. I can deduce which models are actually leading their sales surge by looking at Kia’s published figures and estimating roughly how many sales we’re actually talking about. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

First, let’s also look at Kia’s current flagship EV sales for May. The EV6 saw its sales increase for the first time in months and what’s more it sold 7% more units this May versus last May, when it was in its first few months on sale (which were the highest monthly sales volumes Kia saw for the EV6, until last month). This 7% increase only corresponds to an additional 149 units sold, year-over-year so it’s a small bump in that sense (though Kia pointed out it is an 80% increase over April sales), but it is nonetheless positive. Kia attributes the increase, in part, to a marketing campaign and leasing incentives. I think it is most likely that the leasing incentives, and or other Kia incentives, are the driving factor as the price of the EV6 is no longer competitive with other EVs that are now eligible for tax incentives on purchase and or leases (Kia only gets the incentives for its leases). The EV6’s small bump in sales were not enough to overcome the decline in Niro sales however, and this is why I know that the reason Kia is able to claim a 33% year-over-year sales increase in electrified vehicles is due to their only other electrified models on sale in the US, the previously mentioned Sorento and Sportage hybrid models.

So how many Sportage and Sorento hybrid models did Kia sell last month? We can’t know for certain, but here’s my best guess and how I came up with it. According to Kia, they sold 2,417 Sportage HEVs in May last year (a rare instance of Kia reporting sales volumes for its hybrid version of any model). If we simply apply the increase of 24% for all Sportage models last month, that would mean Kia sold just shy of 3,000 units of the Sportage HEV last month (2,998) and I think that is a fairly reasonable figure to use as an estimate. Next, if we assume that the PHEV version of the Sportage sold about ⅓ to ½ as many units as the HEV version (again what I would consider to be appropriately conservative) then we might count 1,000 - 1,500 US Sportage PHEV sales last month. Similarly, for the Sorento hybrid models we can apply similar logic though we don’t have a Kia released figure to base them on. So I will estimate based on the total sales figures for all Sorento models, which were at about 65% of Sportage sales, and simply apply that smaller percentage against all US Sorento model sales for May. With total Sorento sales of 7,764 and a 13% increase, year-over-year, that would mean that Kia sold somewhere around 1,950 Sorento HEVs and somewhere between 650 and 975 Sorento PHEVs. All in, that would be somewhere between 12,169 - 12,994 electrified Kias sold in the US last month. Assuming those numbers are relatively accurate, it would mean that Kia only sold about 8,576 electrified units in May 2022 and since we know how many EV6, Niro and Sportage HEVs they sold last year, that would mean Kia sold less than 400 Sorento HEV and PHEVs in May 2022 (which seems overly pessimistic to me), so I am inclined to say my estimates are likely on the conservative side and real figures for this May could easily be at least a few hundred units higher.

Though I focused on Kia’s electrified models, Kia’s bigger success last month was in their strictly gas powered, non hybrid SUVs and larger vehicles with the Seltos SUV posting the most significant increase of 171%, year-over-year and the Carnival and Telluride up 80% and 35% respectively, among other sales increases I mentioned above and for the discontinued Stinger (102%) and Soul (45%) as well. Anyway you slice it, things are generally looking up for Kia.

Please leave any questions or comments below.

Images courtesy of Kia and Justin Hart.

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.