“Fortunately, we had a big head start because we’ve been selling the Niro EV for quite a while,” Morrell said outside the meeting.
He noted that 98 percent of Kia’s 750-plus dealerships are already eligible to sell the EVs because they’ve installed the necessary chargers with the automaker’s help.
Kia considers a dealership eligible when it has a fast charger on premise and a trained contingency of salespeople who can educate consumers on the product, said Russell Wager, Kia vice president of marketing.
“This is not about selling EVs on the coasts, this is about selling EVs everywhere,” Wager said.
Part of Kia’s stepped-up push for EV readiness is to support the recently launched Kia EV6 electric crossover, which is one part of a global rollout of 14 dedicated electric vehicles the automaker has promised by 2027.
“We’ve got chargers everywhere to accommodate all of the increased [electric] vehicles because the EV6 has just been a huge hit,” Morrell said.
The forthcoming EV9, a Telluride-sized, three-row electric utility vehicle, also is on the docket. It was shown as a concept ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show last year.
“Usually we don’t show concepts unless we bring them to market,” Wager told Automotive News outside the meeting.
Kia’s Niro EV has experienced year-over-year growth since its debut in 2019, according to data from Motor Intelligence.
But it will be critical to get everyday shoppers to at least consider some form of electrification, Kia dealers acknowledge.
“There are so many customers that are nervous about leaving a gas engine, but they make that transition to a hybrid, and then you see the same customers going from a hybrid to the plug-in,” Morrell said.
“Kia has been spot on with the transition,” Morell said.