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Kia outlines £19 billion strategy to become 'industry leader'

Autocar logo Autocar 4 days ago Felix Page

a car parked on the side of a road: 2019 'Imagine by Kia' concept previewed future electric models from the Korean firm

2019 'Imagine by Kia' concept previewed future electric models from the Korean firm
© Autocar

Kia has announced a new, £19 billion strategy to transition to a maker of electrified vehicles and mobility solutions within the next five years. 

The so-called ‘Plan S’ is hoped to help the Korean firm establish “a leadership position in the future automotive industry”, and details planned new models, investment strategies and sales targets. 

In line with an ambition to offer a “full EV line-up of 11 models and reach a 6.6 % global EV market share by 2025”, Kia will launch an all-new battery-electric car in 2021. Full details are yet to be confirmed, but the model will sit atop a bespoke new platform and is claimed to offer a range of more than 310 miles. The firm also confirmed it will feature a “crossover design which blurs the boundaries between passenger and sports utility vehicles”, suggesting it will be closely linked to the 'Imagine by Kia' concept revealed last year.

The as-yet unnamed new model is said to be capable of charging in less than 20 minutes with a high-speed 800V charger, but a 400V lower-speed charging system will be fitted to other derivative models in Kia’s future EV line-up to allow for more varied pricing. 

Kia plans for EVs to account for 20% of its total sales in developed markets (Korea, North America and Europe) by 2025, but will continue to promote conventionally fuelled cars in developing regions before gradually introducing electric models. 

It is anticipated this approach will allow Kia to incorporate specific market demands at the product planning stage, and better tailor each model according to region. 

The company is aiming to achieve a six percent operating profit margin by 2025, and expects that high-margin SUV models will account for 60% of all sales outside China by 2022, helping to fund development of future technology and models. 

a black and yellow car in a parking lot © Provided by Autocar

In addition to expanding its EV offering, Kia will meet growing demand for e-commerce and car sharing with plans to develop electric vehicle infrastructure in cities that promote the use of zero-emission vehicles. 

Alongside the introduction of a range of EV charging points, the company is planning to build ‘mobility hubs’ in some global cities, which will act as a transfer point between combustion-powered and electric cars before entry into a low-emission zone. The buildings will also house charging stations and maintenance facilities.

Further down the line, the company expects to use these mobility hubs as operating bases for a new fleet of autonomous taxis and shuttles, which will sit atop a self-driving vehicle platform set to enter series production in 2024. 

There are also plans to target the transport, logistics and distribution sectors. Currently accounting for five percent of the global automotive market, customers in these areas are expected to account for a quarter of all vehicles sales by 2030. Kia will introduce specially adapted versions of its Soul EV and e-Niro initially, before going on to develop bespoke vehicles for the delivery, car-sharing and logistics sectors. 

These new vehicles will sit atop a modular, skateboard-style EV chassis which features a low-mounted battery and compact motor, and can be adapted for a wide range of vehicle uses.

Read more

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Kia e-Niro: extra supply of upgraded EV for 2020​

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