In the immediate wake of the pandemic and with the government’s 2030 ban on the sale of new ICE-only cars fast approaching, 2021 has the potential to be a defining year for several brands in thie UK, but few more so than Kia.
Despite being capable of outpacing the Porsche Taycan 4S in its most potent GT form and offering a Jaguar I-Pace-beating range of 316 miles, it’s priced from a mere £40,895 – just £3350 more than its far less sporty Soul EV sibling.
Kia UK president and CEO Paul Philpott told Autocar that this is because the EV6 isn’t a “demonstrable push upmarket”; rather, it happily aligns with his open-minded approach to competition.
“We will sit against anyone,” he says, in reference to the fact that the diminutive Picanto city car will remain on sale alongside the EV6 GT, despite being some five times cheaper.
Maintaining a degree of polarity in Kia showrooms is instrumental to the brand’s enduring appeal to a wide variety of consumers.
Buyers coming in to view a basic Ceed are unlikely to be coaxed into the twice-as-expensive, top-rung Sorento parked beside it, but Philpott maintains that this diversity is inherent to Kia’s accessibility and reputation.
“We’re still a relatively new brand to the UK,” he says. “We’re 30 years old this year, whereas others have a 100-year history behind them. Awareness of Kia is still not as strong as it is of Ford or Mercedes-Benz, so we still have work to do.
“By being in more segments for more different customers allows us to increase awareness of Kia more quickly."
To illustrate his point, Philpott notes that his 80-year-old mother drives a Venga, while his 20-year-old niece drives a Picanto. “We’re not narrowing ourselves down into one segment,” he says. “We’re a volume brand for multiple different demographic segments.”