Kia unveils transformation roadmap with focus on EVs
South Korean automaker Kia Motors Corp., which is part of the Hyundai Motor Group, announced an update to its ‘Plan S’ strategy for its future business at the 2021 CEO Investor Day, held virtually in Seoul on February 9. The ambitious update to its mid- to long-term roadmap was presented by Ho Sung Song, president and CEO of Kia Corporation.
“Kia is being reborn in 2021 with a new logo, new design, and new corporate name,” said Song. “Kia will transform into a brand that excites and inspires customers with innovative mobility experiences.”
‘Kia transformation’ takes the company toward a broader business portfolio to redefine the entire mobility ecosystem, starting with the transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) to electrification. The renewed ‘Plan S’ strategy is underpinned by three core pillars: advancing electric vehicle (EV) transition, strengthening purpose-built vehicle (PBV) business, and expanding future mobility services.
Advancing EV transition
By 2030, eco-friendly vehicles such as EVs, HEVs and PHEVs will make up 40% of all sales for Kia, with an annual sales target of 1.6 million units. As part of this, Kia aims to grow EV sales to 880,000 units in 2030.
Starting with the launch of its first dedicated EV later this year, Kia will strengthen its EV lineup by 2026 with 11 new models – seven dedicated EVs built on the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) architecture, and four based on existing ICE derivatives.
EVs built on E-GMP aim to set new benchmarks in All-Electric Range (AER), driving performance, interior space, and tech application. The EVs will function as smart devices with expanded application of Audio Video Navigation Telematics (AVNT), Over-the-Air (OTA) and Feature on Demand (FoD) services.
The first dedicated EV from Kia, codenamed CV, will be featured with HDA2 (Highway Driving Assist Level 2) technology. Starting in 2023, Kia EVs will be equipped with Highway Driving Pilot (HDP), a crucial autonomous driving Level 3 development.
Further product details and performance specifications for the CV will be revealed next month.
Strengthening PBV business
Kia will unveil its first purpose-built vehicle (PBV) in 2022, with further PBVs to be launched according to market needs. The company is targeting annual sales of 1 million units by 2030 to become a world leader in PBVs. To this end, Kia will develop a variety of specialized vehicles based on its PBV-dedicated skateboard platforms.
Kia plans to further expand its PBV business through open innovation by cooperating with other companies to develop micro/large board platforms for unmanned delivery and e-commerce sectors. The company will also advance its own highly scalable small board platforms and technologies since the company expects market demand for these services to increase globally.
Expanding future mobility services
Kia’s mobility services will gain a competitive edge by carefully targeting and focusing on core areas.
In the business-to-consumer domain, Kia will expand existing services. In Spain, the company’s flagship car-sharing service Wible will be expanded with Wible Más and Wible Empresas (tentatively named). The car usership service ‘KiaMobility’, which was launched in September last year as a pilot project in Italy and Russia, will also launch in additional European markets.
In the business-to-government and business-to-business, Kia will launch an EV-based service that combines subscription and car-sharing. Under this new mobility service concept, vehicles will be used for business on weekdays and rented by individuals on the weekends.
Kia’s subscription program ‘Kia Flex’, which was introduced in South Korea in 2019, will launch a global version later this year under the name ‘Kia Subscription.’ The service will be operated by Sixt Leasing, which was acquired by Hyundai Motor Group last year, and the vehicles will be provided by the company’s regional affiliates and dealers.