Signalling the brand breaking away from its traditional manufacturing-driven business model, Kia has announced a shortened corporate name. Previously known as "Kia Motors Corporation", it will drop the word "Motors" to signify its expansion into new and emerging business areas.
"Our vision is to create sustainable mobility solutions for consumers, communities, and societies globally. Today we start putting this vision into action with the launch of our new brand purpose and strategy for the future," said Kia Corporation president and CEO Ho Sung Song.
Kia said it is focused on popularising battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and plans to reinforce its global product line-up with the introduction of seven new dedicated BEVs by 2027. These new models will include a range of passenger vehicles, SUVs and MPVs across several segments, each incorporating industry-leading technology for long-range driving and high-speed charging from Hyundai Motor Group’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP).
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The first of Kia’s next-generation BEVs will be revealed in the first quarter of 2021. Based on new E-GMP technology, this dedicated BEV will boast a crossover-inspired design, while offering an electric driving range of over 500km and a high-speed charging time of under 20 minutes. This will also be the first global model to bear Kia’s new logo.
With its growing range of BEVs, Kia is targeting a 6.6% share of the global BEV market by 2025, and global annual sales of 500,000 BEVs by 2026.
Kia is also developing a range of new Purpose-Built Vehicles (PBVs) for corporate customers. These specialised vehicles will be based on flexible "skateboard" platforms, with modular bodies designed to meet the specific mobility needs of a broad range of corporate and fleet customers. Partnerships with the likes of Canoo and Arrival will mean Kia PBVs can offer different bodies mounted on top of an integrated modular "skateboard" platform, tailored to users’ functional requirements.
Demand for PBVs is expected to grow five-fold by 2030 due to rapid and sustained growth in e-commerce and car-sharing services. Bespoke Kia PBVs will be tailored to meet the needs of corporate and fleet customers. For instance, these could include car-sharing vehicles, low-floor logistics vehicles, and delivery vehicles.
Another strategic objective under Kia's Plan S strategy is a commitment to diversify its business to offer eco-friendly mobility services, centered on electric and autonomous driving across major global cities.
In addition, Kia is ramping up collaboration and partnerships with global mobility solutions businesses, diversifying mobility services in global strategic regions. In 2018, the company invested in Grab, Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing service, food delivery and payment solutions company; and in Ola in March 2019, an Indian company offering peer-to-peer ridesharing, ride-service hailing, taxi, food delivery and other mobility services.
Kia is also establishing other mobility services, including WiBLE, a car-sharing joint venture with Repsol, Spain’s major energy corporation, in Madrid. Launched in September 2018, WiBLE operates 500 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid EVs (PHEVs) through a free-floating method that allows users to freely rent and return vehicles within the service area. WiBLE remains one of Europe’s most successful shared mobility schemes, with over 130,000 members having registered since its inauguration.
A new service, KiaMobility, was also launched in locations across Italy and Russia in September 2020. KiaMobility will be introduced to several new markets in the years ahead.
Kia will also reveal more information about the new design direction of its future products and services in the weeks ahead, with a new design philosophy which reflects the brand’s transformation.
“We want our products to deliver an instinctive and natural experience that can improve the daily lives of our customers," said Kia Global Design Center head Karim Habib.
"Our aim is to design the physical experience of our brand and to create original, inventive, and exciting electric vehicles. The ideas of our designers and the purpose of the brand are more connected than ever, with our customers at the centre of what we do.”