The sales total for Kia represents a 9-percent increase over the previous record from 2022 and this was the fourth month in a row that Kia sold over 70,000 vehicles in the US. Kia’s press release also calls out that their battery electric vehicle (EV) sales were up 100% over August 2022. Kia’s EV6 saw a 33% increase, year-over-year (2,449 units versus 1,840) and the Niro a much more impressive sounding 1,746% increase (3,896 versus 211). Note that the Niro also includes hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models in its sales totals though; I typically estimate that Niro EVs represent around 30% of their total sales though I have no reliable means of confirming that (it is simply an estimate I have seen other news outlets use). However, since I have a little bit more information from Kia in this press release I can actually calculate that at least last month, Niro EV’s accounted for more than 30% of total Niro sales (approximately 33%, given the EV6 sales numbers and the 100% increase for all Kia EV sales combined). That means that Kia moved approximately 1,300 Niro EVs last month, or roughly 3,750 EVs combined.
All of this is unquestionably good news for Kia, however the news also led to some interesting boastfulness from Kia America’s Eric Watson, VP of sales operations. Specifically, VP Watson claimed (emphasis added) that “exceeding 70,000 units for four consecutive months and doubling year-over-year sales of our electrified offerings is proof that Kia is ahead of the competition and delivering highly desirable and innovative models across many of the industry’s largest segments”. Let’s unpack this proof statement a bit. Kia’s doubling year-over-year sales of electrified models for 4 consecutive months sounds impressive, but it means he is including not just EVs but also PHEVs and HEVs in his statement and that, frankly, is the only way that Kia could be “ahead of the competition” presently since they are not in the lead in terms of EV sales. Through the first half of the year in fact, Kia’s EV sales were down, in total, compared to the previous year.
Kia does not break out the sales of its two other electrified models typically, the Sorento PHEV and HEV as well as the Sportage PHEV and HEV, and we know from this month’s sales report from Kia that they likely sold around 3,750 EVs last month. In comparison, Ford sold 5,897 EVs in August (up a combined 307% year-over-year), according to Detroitnews.com, thus handily beating Kia’s EV sales for the month. So, to be accurate, Kia had to include the sales of their hybrid models in order to be in a leadership position. If I update earlier monthly sales estimates, in this case for June 2023, of 12-13,000 electrified Kia’s sold and apply what information I can get from Kia’s released numbers, it suggests that Kia’s electrified (non EV) sales figures may not have improved much since June. I say this because both Sportage and Sorento sales were down this August compared to last, and the Sorento sales are actually down about 10% cumulatively year over year. Of course that doesn’t mean the sales of the electrified Sorentos and Sportages are down per se, but it may be safe to say they are essentially static. So, with the Niro and EV6 being responsible for Kia’s electrified vehicle sales growth in this model, it would mean that Kia may have sold about 13,000 - 14,800 electrified vehicles last month. Given that Toyota had well over 50,000 electrified vehicle sales in June (and we can expect at least somewhere well north of 15,000 for August), and Tesla likely sold still more than Toyota in the US, not to mention the likes of Ford which is also likely to have outsold Kia when including its hybrid and plug-hybrid vehicles, and Kia’s leadership claims should be taken with at least an ounce of skepticism. That isn’t to say that Kia isn’t leading the electrified sales of several other brands though, like Mazda, Subaru, or Nissan for example. Saying that Kia’s electrified models are innovative and highly desirable is also absolutely true, and Kia should be applauded for growing their EV sales at a healthy rate that is more or less keeping pace with the overall sales trends in the US this year.
Whether or not Kia is the dominant establishment brand when it comes to electrified vehicle sales, are you interested in one or more of their electrified models? What draws you to it, or makes it so desirable? Are you like me and find their value, technology and capabilities especially attractive? Please leave your comments and questions below.
Image 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 https://www.torquenews.com/kia for regular electric and hybrid news coverage.