Previously, I estimated that Kia had sold about 2,000 or more Sorento PHEVs in Q1, and up until the last month or so, I assumed that Kia was sticking more or less to a 2,000+ sales rate per quarter for this PHEV model. But now I am wondering if perhaps their sales are falling off a cliff, and this coming after Kia’s best August sales month ever. Mind you, it isn’t a very tall cliff if my estimates are reasonably accurate and Kia has only attained a little over 4,000 sales in the first half of the year; it’s really more of a small hill. When I do a search for “All miles from” my zip code on cars.com I only see 33 new instances of the 2022 model available. According to autoblog.com, they could only find 25 new Sorento PHEVs for sale, nationwide, when they recently searched. Should we trust these figures and whatever the answer is, why or why not?
My suggestion is that we should trust them, at least somewhat and at least for now or until Kia may provide more sales information. Here’s why I have at least some faith in these numbers: people who have placed orders are reporting on social media that they are experiencing even longer waits than others in the past while also reporting orders being canceled, while the Inflation Reduction Act has removed the tax incentive all plug-in Kia models were eligible for up to the point of the IRA becoming law. There is likely another logical reason for a significant decline in sales: the 2022 model year is being replaced with the new 2023 Sorento PHEV. Note that the new model is at least a few thousand dollars more expensive and only comes in the top trim SX-Prestige option now though, which means the Sorento PHEV now starts at well over $50,000 U.S. MSRP when the destination fee is included.
I call this out because a significant price hike, the lack of any federal tax incentive, and the likely commonplace addition of “market adjustments” still at play given the limited supply and high demand for all plug-in vehicles are a triple whammy for anyone still considering the purchase of a Kia Sorento PHEV. Consider this, according to markups.org, there are several reports of dealers charging market adjustments on the Sorento PHEV of between $499 - $20,593. You read that right; at least one dealer charged a customer over $20,000 extra. Combined with taxes and fees, that one unfortunate buyer may have paid around $80,000 total. It is enough to make one want to never set foot on a dealers lot again. More and more buyers are going to be driven toward Tesla and other automakers that sell their vehicles to customers directly and do not add markups to their published prices. That is unless Kia and other automakers take steps similar to Ford to bring the outrageous gouging practices under control.
Thus, even if the primary reason sales may be down to a fraction of what they were earlier is because of the model year change over, something that might just be a month long blip, the especially large jump in effective price for most potential buyers will hurt Kia’s sales of this plug-in hybrid vehicle in particular. This will be especially true if dealers continue to add exorbitant markups like those I mentioned.
What do you think? Would you look at different models or different brands now that the cost of a Sorento PHEV has gone up significantly? If so, which models or brands? Would you be more inclined to buy a full EV or perhaps a standard hybrid (HEV)? Please leave your questions and comments below.
Image provided by Justin Hart.
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.