Kia Exec: Soul EV Unlikely To Be Attractively Priced
Two weeks ago, Kia confirmed it would be bringing an all-electric version of its newly-released 2014 Soul to the U.S., offering customers in select markets the opportunity to opt for a plug-in version of the funky urban crossover. The company has not yet provided detailed information about pricing or availability in the U.S. However, as Headlineauto (via TheGreenCarWebsite) reported, Kia expects the Soul EV to be a low-volume car.
“We want the car,” said Yaser Shabsogh, Kia’s U.K. commercial director. “We have the technology so we want it so we can demonstrate it.” Reading between the lines, that translates to a demonstration model, rather than one with decent sales.
“It’s not going to be priced to try to stimulate demand,” Shabsogh admitted. “We won’t be selling hundreds of them—maybe a couple of hundred, mostly in the key metropolitan areas. But the biggest question at the moment is not where we will be selling them, but the support for these cars—the servicing and charging networks.”
Kia's marketing plan could become a self-fulfilling prophecy: limited availability and poor sales. In the U.K., Shabsogh said prices would be at least £20,000 presumably before incentives. Even accounting for a 20 percent sales tax included in the price, that translates to a figure somewhere around $26,500.
While that might seem reasonable however, this figure might not include battery pack pricing, since Kia is still deciding if it will lease batteries to customers or sell outright. If it’s the latter, expect that figure to rise considerably.
Playing on fears of limited service availability and not enough public charging is hardly new. Other car companies, including Honda and Fiat, have played the same cards to excuse themselves from mass-producing electric vehicles. They concentrate sales in areas where they are either legally required to sell EVs or where demand is known to be high.
While adding yet another “compliance car” to key markets will increase buyer choice in those areas and help raise the profile of EVs, next year’s Kia Soul EV launch is hardly going to be what most buyers want: a genuinely-affordable all-electric crossover vehicle, offered by a company with a strong commitment to the electrification of the automobile.
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