Heck, they already sold out in Norway.
Predicting allocation for a new model with new technologies in any market isn't easy. Automakers don’t want to build too many vehicles but are also concerned about not having enough to satisfy what they hope will be strong demand. It’s not exactly a crap shoot as there are many ways consumer data can dictate a fairly accurate build number. But still, a prediction is a prediction.
According to Wards Auto, Hyundai USA is now anticipating strong demand for the new Kona Electric, the small crossover with a 258-mile range. Its Nissan Leaf rival, by comparison, has a maximum range of 151 miles, though a bigger battery version with a 220-mile range is due next year. But Hyundai USA believes it’s about to have a hit on its hands and it wants to be sure there’ll be no product shortage.
Mike O’Brien, Hyundai America’s vice president of product, traveled all the way to the corporate home office in South Korea to make sure enough Kona EVs will arrive. “Our top management simply told us, ‘We’re going to make sure you have enough.’ So we’re going to be all-in on the Kona EV,” he said.
O’Brien added that his bosses in South Korea promised to increase production numbers, but by how much remains unknown.
Perhaps one of the reasons why Hyundai America was concerned about Kona EV production figures was the automaker’s reported shortage of lithium-ion batteries earlier this year. Without enough batteries, there’ll be a lack of product, simple as that. In fact, Green Car Reports learned that because of that shortage, Hyundai had to stop taking orders in Canada for the Ioniq EV sedan.
As for the Kona EV, sales are due to get underway in California before the end of the year. Hyundai wants this rollout to spread to an additional ten states that share California’s zero-emission-vehicle rules within only two weeks. At the same time, Hyundai will be more than happy to deliver Kona EVs to any dealership in any state as long as orders are being taken.