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Kia Makes a Statement in U.S. EV Market - December Sales Increase a Staggering 142% Year-Over-Year!

Kia had good news to share about its December 2022 electrified vehicle sales; they were up by 142% year-over-year! However, deciphering the precise sales figures is a little bit tricky because Kia doesn’t separately report sales figures for all of its electrified models. There are also some confusing statements in Kia’s recap of 2022 sales that I’ll dig into later.


But first the good news! Kia must have sold at least somewhere north of 50k electrified vehicles in the U.S. in 2022. I believe it is very likely Kia actually sold closer to 80K, or more, electrified vehicles last year. If only Kia would break down their sales numbers for electrified vehicles (other than the EV6, and sort of for the Niro which has 3 electrified variants only, but all get reported together). Here’s a combination of what Kia did report and my own estimates to explain.

First, Kia reported 20,498 sales for their EV6 in 2022 in the U.S. Next, Kia reported 28,744 sales of its Niro (which combines sales of the 2022 and 2023 models of the HEV, EV and PHEV models). I’ll be doing a driving review of the 2023 Kia Niro EV in an upcoming article (stay tuned) which just went on sale in the final months of the year but very strong sales figured for all Niro models in December suggest that Kia was able to move a lot of its latest Niros with plugs, too. So for just these two electrified model lines, we know Kia sold 49,242 units last year. But Kia also sold some number of hybrid and plug-in hybrid Sorentos and Sportages too. My conservative estimate (OK, it’s really just a guess as I don’t have a lot of hard data to go on) is that Kia sold around 10,000 - 11,000 units combined of these two PHEV SUVs and about 20,000 - 22,000 units combined of the standard, non-plug in HEV versions of the same SUVs. That suggests that about 55-60% of the electrified vehicles Kia sold in the U.S. last year plugged in (or somewhere between 42k - 47k). Of course the actual numbers could be significantly higher, but something tells me if that were the case, Kia would probably want to brag about that more. For reference, Ford reported 2022 U.S. EV sales of 61,575 units according to cementing its #2 position behind Tesla in the U.S. electric vehicle market. If we were to combine all of the Hyundai Motor Group’s EV sales For Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis their EV sales figures would either be a little above or a little below Ford’s. While neither automaker/motor group is selling anywhere near the volume of EVs as Tesla is, even if we include their hybrid sales, it is certainly a positive development to note that both have increased their electrified sales so much (roughly doubling or better from 2021).

Now, how about those confusing Kia sales statements? According to their end of year sales recap, “Kia also marked its best-ever fourth quarter performance, which pushed the brand’s annual retail sales volume to 654,554, an increase of 1.7-percent compared to previous retail record in 2021.” Here’s the rub; according to Kia’s own sales figures, which are published at the bottom of the same page, their 2022 annual U.S. retail sales were actually 693,549 (almost 39k higher than stated) and the actual difference between 2021 and 2022 was a small decline in total annual sales of just over 1%. I’ve written to Kia asking for clarification because I may just be misinterpreting the figures and if I get a response will update this article accordingly.

With the introduction of new EV models, production facilities and improved supply chain all expected or likely in 2023, it only makes sense to assume this year will be another strong year for electrified vehicle sales growth in the U.S. Do you agree? If not, why not? Please leave any questions or comments 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.