Kia has revealed that its first commercially available all-electric car will be based on the next-generation Soul and will go on sale in 2014.
Kia currently makes an electric version of the Ray – a subcompact car for the Korean domestic market – but only in very small numbers for use by government agencies as part of a real-world test fleet.
The battery-powered Soul will be a regular production model for sale around the world, however, and Kia UK leaders are now lobbying to make sure that it is also built with right-hand drive.
By next spring the current Soul will be Kia’s oldest model and the company will have replaced every other car on its European fleet in just over two years. An extensively reworked Sorento SUV, a new seven-seat Carens MPV and the second-generation three-door pro-cee’d hatch are the next renewals on the way.
Kia says it is this investment in new products which is behind the remarkable sales records it is now setting around the globe, including the depressed European market.
The total European market is currently down 7.1 per cent on the already bad 2011 figures. Among the companies which have been especially badly hit are Renault, Fiat, Opel, Peugeot-Citroën and Ford.
Yet Kia is showing a 23.1 per cent increase in the same period – a figure which is more than being matched in the UK – and will sell a record 345,000 cars in Europe this year, including 65,000 in Britain.