CHICAGO – Kia Motors America isn’t setting a sales target for its new Soul EV electric vehicle that bowed at the auto show here today, citing too many variables in the equation.
“We have no volume projections on the Soul EV, and no projections on how many will be sold worldwide, how many in the U.S., because it all depends on demand,” says Michael Sprague, executive vice president-marketing.
“But volume will be limited,” he adds, hinting at only a few thousand units, because sales are going to start in California and Oregon this spring and not move into a select few other states until 2015.
While the Soul EV was introduced here, Illinois is not in the immediate plans as a market for the car.
Kia expects the model to draw current Kia owners, as well as some buyers new to the brand, Sprague says.
“It's going to be a halo car for us and attract buyers from other brands as well as those who are eco conscious and into technology. Buyers are going to be those who embrace both function and especially design, something lacking in current EVs.”
Sprague won’t rule out EV versions of other Kia models in the future, but says that will depend on consumer demand. Asked why Kia is offering an EV but not a plug-in hybrid, Sprague says only that plug-ins “appeal to consumers who are more receptive to them based on the range before having to plug in.”
Steve Kosowski, manager of long-range strategy and planning, is more specific.
"We are aware that plug-ins have consumer appeal,” he says. “I'm not sure what I can reveal at this time, but you'll see more plug-ins from all manufacturers in the future.”