Saturday, December 10, 2022

Supply restrictions limit Oz sales of Kia’s EV6

TESLA had a gangbuster year in 2021, selling around 12,000 electric vehicles across Australia in 2021 and more than doubling the number of EV sales of all other brands combined in the same period (which tallied just 5149 vehicles).

Kia will add another 500 vehicles to 2022’s EV total thanks to the arrival of its hot new EV6, but the South Korean automaker says there’s plenty of meat being left on the bone: by its estimate, the company could find homes for at least 5000 EV6s in this country if only it could get supply to align with demand.

Supply is indeed tight. Australia has been allocated just 500 EV6s for its first year, and that’s a number that’s expected to carry over for at least the next few years.

With Kia’s local dealers currently holding around 1800 paid deposits for the EV6, the company already has enough demand to cover the next three years’ worth of allocation – a fact that has prompted it to cease taking expressions of interest for now.

“Anything that’s landed (has sold) three times over,” said Kia Australia’s general manager of product planning, Roland Rivero.

“Demand is quite strong, there’s about 1500 to 1800 paid deposits already off 25,000 leads – which we’ve now put a stop to.”

Bottom line: if you haven’t already ordered an EV6, you’re probably going to have to wait until the middle of this decade to get your hands on one – at least, a brand-new one from a dealership.

The biggest variable that could change that is whether Kia’s head office decides to open the tap a little more for the Australian market – otherwise, unless an existing deposit holder for the exact spec you’re chasing elects to drop off the waiting list, you’ ve got a long wait ahead of you.

“We’re working together to try and get more (EV6s),” Mr Rivero said.

As to just how many more, Kia’s local office is confident that it could make good use of an allocation that’s ten times the size of its current one.

According to Kia Australia’s chief operating officer Damien Meredith, the realistic ceiling for the EV6 in this country is 5000 cars per year. Looking at Tesla’s result from last year, which was largely achieved by the similarly-sized and similarly-priced Model 3, the notion of Kia selling 5000 EV6s per annum seems realistic.

Over at Hyundai, supply woes present a similar story.

Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, which is built on the same E-GMP platform as the Kia EV6, has been a sell-out success since it launched late last year, but with just 240 cars available in 2021 – plus a couple of hundred more early this year to bring the first allocation tally to 400 – Hyundai has also struggled to make supply match up to the demand for one of its most desirable new models.

According to Kia, the reasons for the supply shortage will sound familiar. The global shortage of computer chips and semiconductors hits hard, especially in a vehicle as tech-heavy as the EV6, while production interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have also had a profound effect.

On top of that, big-battery EVs are hot property around the globe right now, particularly in regions like North America, Europe and China, and with the number of cars coming through the factory door being heavily limited, those other regions will fairly soak up the bulk of EV6 output.

In Australia, though EV market share is on the rise, sales of electric cars, SUVs and commercials only accounted for 1.6 per cent of the total market in 2021. In terms of the global EV market, Australia plays a very minor role.

However, Kia Australia will battle to improve supply. Besides giving the brand a more meaningful toehold in the electric car segment, the company also says that having the EV6 in its range also provides a profound halo effect that extends over the rest of its range.

“It’s basically Stinger handing the baton to EV6, I think that’s what’s happening,” Mr Meredith explained.

“It’s giving a lot of pride of purchase to people who already own a Kia as well,” added Kia’s general manager of marketing, Dean Norbiato.

“We’ve had people who are reaching out directly who own GT-Line Picantos that are excited that that (the EV6) is in the Kia family now, so it’s giving a sense of pride to the existing Kia customers as well, which is also a nice touch over and above just selling 500 EV6s.”

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