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Supply issues slow Kia's roll out of e-Niro electric car

Battery supply is one of the main reasons why order take for the full electric e-Niro has outstripped Kia’s 2019 allocation, according to executives.

However, they hope the situation will improve for 2020 as the company prepares for the new Soul EV.

Kia has taken just over 1,000 orders for its allocation of 1,000 e-Niros, deliveries of which will begin in the next couple of months. Dealers are telling customers that they are looking at quarter one 2020 if they order now.

“We have to be upfront with them, although we are trying to secure more production,” said Paul Philpott, Kia Motors UK chairman and chief executive officer.

“It’s a global supply chain, not just Europe or the UK and battery supply can’t keep pace with demand, which is growing at a significant rate. We have to manage the situation but we can’t say when it will free-up. But our customers are prepared to wait.”

Kia will sell around 8,000-9,000 Niro cars in its first full year, with 1,000 full electric, 2,000 plug-in hybrid and the balance hybrid. Two-thirds of the orders for the full electric version are from the retail market, one-third from fleets, but Kia has some customers that would buy in larger volumes in they could.

“Supply will grow, but so will demand. There will still be a lead time but we hope it won’t be like this year,” Philpott said.

The Soul EV goes on sale at the start of 2020, but Kia has not yet decided which battery pack to offer in the UK. The car will have a high capacity 64kW battery capable of 280 miles and a 39.2kW version capable of 172 miles.

The e-Niro is available only with the higher-powered battery pack. Philpott said: “We learned from the e-Niro that the long range is in greater demand and is also gets better residual values which offsets the higher upfront cost.”

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