Kia will extend its electric car sales network to all its entire franchised retail network from January.
Currently sales are restricted to 33 outlets, but all sales outlets will be required to add fast-charging facilities, specialist tooling and to train all sales staff on Kia's EVs and hybrid cars from the start of 2019, the Korean OEM has confirmed.
The move reflects the rising volume of EVs entering the UK market and Kia’s ambition to bring more electric cars to market.
Speaking to AM at the Paris Motor Show 2018 Kia UK's chairman and chief executive, Paul Philpott, said that a positive experience with the Soul EV had given the brand greater confidence as it prepares to open the order book for its latest electric model, the E-Niro crossover, by the end of 2018, with deliveries starting in March for the car which Kia claims will have a zero-emissions range of 300 miles.
Unlike some rivals, Kia is not promising to offer an electric option on every model in its range.
The Picanto city car, for example, will be available only with petrol, Philpott said.
Industry observers suggest the costs currently associated with electric and hybrid powertrains outweigh the business case for electric city cars, given their relatively low price point.
“We will put the appropriate powertrain as we see fit,” said Philpott. “We also have no plans to commercialise hydrogen yet. We will bring it to market when it’s commercially appropriate to do so.”
The company has not yet decided whether dealer targets will include a specific EV sales element, a spokesman told AM.