Kia, which just last week updated both its logo and its slogan (from 'The Power To Surprise' to 'Movement That Inspires', if you're asking) has today given us some more insight into what the next decade will look like for the Korean car maker. Oh, and it's changing its name too - from Kia Motors to just plain old Kia.
From making cars to providing mobility
That change, needless to say, marks Kia's self-declared transition away from being a mere maker of cars to a maker of "innovative mobility products and services to improve customers' daily lives."
Ho Sung Song, President and CEO of Kia Corporation, said at the launch of the new strategy: "At Kia, we believe that transportation, mobility and movement represent a human right. 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."
So, how's that going to play out? Well, we knew from last year's 'Plan S' that Kia was going to start turning itself into a maker of electric vehicles, albeit one that pays for all that EV investment with buckets of SUV sales. Now, we're getting a little more meat on those bones.
So, between now and 2027, Kia says that it will introduce seven new electric cars, which, assuming that none of those are replacements for the existing e-Soul and Niro EVs, will bring Kia's total electric car count to nine. That will put it in a solid position for achieving its stated aim: "To establish a leadership position in the future mobility industry, expanding its business to encompass EVs, mobility solutions and services, purpose-built vehicles and more."
Long-range electric platform
These seven new cars will all be based on the new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which Kia shares with Hyundai. The first production vehicle using that platform, from Kia's point of view, will be the production version of the 'Imagine By Kia' concept, which tries to meld the best of coupe, saloon and SUV design. Don't worry - it's nicer than it sounds and the E-GMP platform means that one-charge ranges in excess of 500km will be possible plus ultra-rapid charging. Kia says that the styling of this new EV will kick off a new design language for the company, and that it's targeting 500,000 annual electric car sales every year by 2026. Karim Habib, Senior Vice President, Head of Kia Global Design Centre, explains: "We want our products to deliver an instinctive and natural experience that can improve the daily lives of our customers. 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."
Beyond that will be a line-up of new Purpose-Built Vehicles (PBVs) designed for corporate customers. These will also be built on the E-GMP platform, but will be much more hard-working vehicles such as delivery vans, commercial vehicles and dedicated shuttle buses for large company campuses. Kia has teamed up with autonomous ride-sharing experts such as Canoo and Arrival to help design and build this range of PBVs, with all three hoping to cash in on a projected five-fold growth in the market for such vehicles by 2030.
Ride hailing and autonomous cars
Kia is also after some of that sweet autonomous ride-hailing pie itself. In spite of many industry prognosticators now saying that autonomous cars are maybe not the next big thing we thought they were, Kia has invested in companies such as Grab (which claims to be Southeast Asia's largest ride-hailing service, not to mention a food delivery service) and Indian based ride hailing service Ola. Kia is also investing in ride-sharing and micro-renting services in Spain, Italy and Russia.
On top of all that, Kia says that it's investing heavily in recyclable materials and renewable energy for more sustainable manufacturing.