KIA Australia’s most affordable electric car is currently arguably one of the most expensive EVs on the market, but the brand has backed its Niro lineup, claiming it’s ‘doing it’ my job’.
The Niro compact SUV is offered with a hybrid powertrain on two levels, both of which are priced relatively high compared to their competitors – the S-tier is $44,380 plus on-road costs, the GT-Line is $50,030 plus ORC.
But it’s the electric version of the Niro that seems to demand a lot of the buyer’s wallet, with the list price (plus ORC) set at $65,300 for the S and $72,100 for the GT-Line.
Since it’s a small SUV and therefore in the same segment as the MG ZS EV (from $44,990 drive-away), the upcoming MG 4 EV (from $44,990 plus on-road), the BYD Atto 3 (from $48,011 plus on the way), the Niro – which is a bit larger in physical size than the others – is still contextually expensive.
However, newly appointed Kia Australia CEO Damien Meredith said the brand was satisfied with Niro’s position despite more pressure from rival brands offering low-cost electric vehicles in the region. same segment.
“It’s a small electric vehicle that doesn’t stop giving,” said Mr. Meredith.
“Price is a really interesting concept in regards to electric vehicles. It’s really, really interesting. I think there are still a lot of early adopters. There’s a large group of early adopters buying what they can,” he said specifically of MG and BYD buyers.
“We are quite fortunate that we have worked hard to build the brand so that it attracts a certain group of buyers. So we’re doing well with our pricing strategy,” asserted Mr. Meredith, suggesting that Niro plays an important role as a brand and reputation-building product in the market.
Kia Australia says the split between the Niro hybrid and EV models is fairly even, and the sales figures show exactly that. As of the end of May 2023, both types have sold 294 units, for a total of 588 units. These numbers are specific to the new generation Niro, not the purpose-built Niro Plus variant.
“It doesn’t get cheaper to put those things together, just like the things that are dug out of the ground to power them. So we’re doing well on our pricing strategy with Niro at this point,” said Mr. Meredith. “We didn’t expect to face MG, or anything like that. Where we have located it, it is doing its job for us. And – from the fleet’s point of view, it’s doing very well.”
Roland Rivero, general manager of product planning and training at Kia Australia, said the supply factor also plays an important role when it comes to the Niro in particular.
“It is also related to supply. Niro does very well in Europe and the lion’s share there. We don’t make as much as that market,” he said.
As of the end of May 2023, electric vehicles have sold 32,050 units year-to-date (accounting for more than 7% of total vehicle sales, compared with 1.9% in the same period last year).
Hybrid vehicle sales so far this year are trailing electric vehicles, with 29,293 units sold through the end of May 2023, although that figure does not include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which account for 2797 sold one.