NEW YORK – Kia dealers in the U.S. may get the first deliveries of the ’ 24 Kia EV9, a much-anticipated, 3-row, battery-electric SUV in November, according to insiders at the New York auto show.
“It’s going to be huge. There’s nothing else like it on the market,” Matthew Phillips, CEO of Car Pros Auto Group, Renton, WA, tells Wards from the sidelines at the New York show.
The group has a total seven dealerships in Southern California and the state of Washington, including five Kia franchises. His Car Pros of Glendale store in California is the No. 1-volume Kia dealership in the nation, Phillips says.
The first months of Kia EV9 deliveries in the U.S. market will be imports from Korea, but in 2024, Kia expects to start building the SUV at its shared plant with Hyundai in West Point, GA.
That plan was in place before the U.S government announced incentives exclusively for U.S.-built electric vehicles, says Russell Wager, marketing vice president for Kia America, Irvine, CA.
“We were already committed, but did the (Inflation Reduction Ac t) accelerate a few things? The EV9 was one of them,” Wager says.
The EV9’s debut in New York kicks off an online and social-media marketing and advertising campaign, as well as in-person gatherings for “hand raisers” who have already expressed interest, Wager says.
Closer to the launch, Kia America plans to add TV and other mass-market advertising. Wager says it’s safe to assume there will be marketing and advertising for the ’ 24 EV9 through the brand’s existing partnerships with the National Basketball Assn. Kia also has partnerships with 13 individual NBA teams.
Meanwhile, Wager says all of Kia’s 781 U.S. dealerships are qualified to sell electric vehicles, based on having the required tooling and equipment, such as chargers, and training.
Kia dealerships also offer customers associated products such as home chargers, which can be financed through dealership F&I offices, Wager says.
There is a backlog of orders due to high demand for home chargers from Kia dealerships since the launch of the automaker’s EV6, he says.
Besides offering home chargers, Kia is throwing in a deal for EV buyers to get 1,000-kW hours of charging via the Electrify America network at no extra cost. That’s the equivalent of about 4,000 miles (6,440 km) worth of charging, the company say
Shoppers have found other things to worry about, like how long it takes to recharge, with EV ownership becoming more mainstream and as estimated range has grown; the target range for the EV9 is an estimated 300 miles (483 km), Wager says.
Using a Level 3 fast charger, Kia says the EV9 can reach 80% charge from 10% in less than 25 minutes. Wager says, “The new range anxiety is now charging anxiety.”