Consistency and constant R&D have been the foundation of repeated remarkable sales.
Like many other manufacturers, Kia celebrated a monumental year of sales in 2021 throughout the global market, partially thanks to the increasing demand for the Niro. For the first time in its history, the South Korean badge was able to clear 700,000 unit sales in the US market, helping it record a global increase of 6.5%. Kia UK CEO Paul Philpott says that this is thanks to the heavy investments it has made in the development of its current lineup.
Speaking to Autocar, Philpott says, "We've had a really good run for 10 to 15 years. Looking back over our history, there's not been a sudden boom year. We've consistently grown our volume and market share off the back of, first and foremost, very strong progression in our product range and, latterly, through the increasingly fast pace towards electrification."
While this is about the UK market in specific, the sales charts show that it's the same story in the USA. 2021 closed with cars like the Niro enjoying commendable success, increasing its year-to-date sales figure by 8,758 units. The more traditional Forte, Sportage, Telluride, and K5 remained the brand heroes as they closed the year with more than 90,000 unit sales each.
Philpott explains how electric vehicles have also helped: "The speed of demand returning was particularly for electrified cars. We have three EVs on sale, three plug-in hybrids, and two hybrids. We're in a good position to capitalize on that bounce in demand for electrified cars far ahead of demand for [gasoline] and diesel cars."
In the USA, a similar trend is seen as Kia confirms its hybrid and battery-electric vehicle sales in the region increased by 97%. "Someone said to me that electrification is a real leveler for brands," adds Philpott. "When we were competing with only ICE powertrains, there were clear benefits for, let's say, the German premium brands.
"With new tech, like electrification, I think people are reassessing who the leaders are. Tesla was number one last year, but the e-Niro was the second-best-selling EV and Audi was number five. Electrification gives Kia a real opportunity to continue to make rapid progress." With the introduction of the EV6, we already know that Kia is dead-set on continuing this momentum going into 2022.