Kia Toyota is as keen as ever to bring the top-selling competitor of the RAV4 Hybrid to Australia, but there is still no sign-off for electrified Sportage for sale locally.
Kia Australia is talking about its willingness to offer petrol-electric sports – already being sold in Korea – for the best part of 12 months now.
Australian buyers are voting with their wallets, while in the case of hybrid medium-sized SUVs, 72 per cent of all RAV4s sold last year were electrified.
Talking to Care Expert Recently, Roland Rivero, Kia Australia’s Product Development Manager, stated that his main priority is to ensure and integrate the Sportage hybrid for our market and address potential supply issues in the future.
“From a selfish product planning perspective, securing powertrains is the first priority. You have to start somewhere, “said Mr Rivero.
“First and foremost Australian certification and equivalence, then the development of the powertrain. Lock it in, then the next step is to push for more supplies. “
Asked if Kia Australia would follow a similar strategy to the larger Sorrento, where hybrid power is only available in top-spec GT-line trim, Mr Rivero would seek multiple grades for Sportage’s various customer bases instead of the company.
“In the first case, we want to bring a GT-line and maybe an SX – a middle ground that can satisfy some naval and some entry. If supplies were a little more open, we could probably go full range. “
The larger Kia Sorrento Hybrid is currently limited to just 20 units per month, spread across front and all-wheel drive, while the Sorrento plug-in hybrid is in a more rigorous supply. All three electrified variants are available locally exclusively on top-spec GT-line trim.
Mr Rivero has confirmed that the next-generation Nero – which will be offered in both hybrid (HEV) and EV versions – will be limited to 100-150 monthly units at launch. Kia cited global demand, especially in Europe, as the main reason for such short supply.
Although the long-wheelbase Sportage sold in Australia is not shipped to Europe, the hybrid version of our version is available in numerous markets, including South Korea and North America.
Despite ongoing supply challenges across its range, Kia Australia expects 2022 to be its best-selling year of all time, with annual volume forecasting 72,000 vehicles. Last year, the company recorded 67,964 registrations.
Of these 72,000 sales, Kia’s local division expects to electrify about 2,000 units, including about 600 EV6s – 100 units more than initially promised.
By comparison, Toyota Australia regularly sells around 4000 RAV4 units per month, most of which are hybrids. It is a similar sales mix for its popular Corolla, Camry, Kluger and Yaris cross line.
Stay tuned Care Expert For all the latest, and know your thoughts in our comments.
More: Everything Kia Sportage