At Kia, Plan B Is Called 'Plan S'

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
at kia plan b is called 8216 plan s

Whether you or I like it or want it, the industry is changing — pivoting towards things that cause many readers’ blood to run cold and their soul to wither and die. Futuristic things like electrification and mobility and autonomous driving. Soulless things, to some.

For most — if not all — industry players, this pivot is Plan B (Plan A being the traditional selling of internal combustion automobiles to customers who walk into dealerships). For Kia, it falls under the official title of Plan S. This week, the automaker dived into what it means for loyal customers.

In announcing details to shareholders and other money types from its Seoul home base, Kia stated the following:

By the end of 2025, Kia plans to offer a full line-up of 11 battery electric vehicles. With these models Kia is looking to achieve a 6.6% share of the global EV market (excluding China), while also attaining a 25% share of its sales from its eco-friendly cars. With the global EV market expected to gain strength by 2026, Kia is aiming for 500,000 annual EV sales and global sales of 1 million eco-friendly vehicles (excluding China).

Currently, Kia offers two fully electric models: the Niro EV and its ICE-less Soul stablemate, with hybrids starting to proliferate through the lineup. That’ll soon change, as ground-up EVs based on dedicated architecture begin showing up. The first such EV — a crossover with over 311 miles of range — launches next year, Kia claims. Bodystyles and power output will vary greatly, Kia says.

Sadly, Kia doesn’t break down the EV product mix between dedicated and derivative electric vehicles. Focusing most intensely on receptive markets, the automaker said it’s aiming for a 20-percent take rate for EVs by the middle of the decade. Emerging markets will gain whatever models Kia thinks it can actually sell.

At the same time, Kia hopes to boost sales of internal combustion vehicles, as something has to cover the bill for development of these (initially) low-margin products.

The total cost of Plan S is $25 billion by 2025, by which time Kia hopes to see a 6-percent operating margin. At the same time, the automaker plans to create “mobility hubs” in “cities with stricter environmental regulations and greater use of EVs.” Mobility services will spring forth in those areas. Looking long-term, electric and autonomous ridesharing fleets will ply roadways in those green locales.

Like plans released by other automakers, Kia’s electric ambitions hinge, in part, on a receptive buying public. Time will tell how quickly buyers pivot away from what they know and trust.

[Image: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

Join the conversation
  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 17, 2020

    "Focusing most intensely on receptive markets" Well, that's not how you grow the market share you claim to want.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jan 19, 2020

    Well, hedging their bets - and noting the lower margins - on electric cars and hybrids looks like a smart move. The predictions of huge sales of EVs and hybrids in the face of higher electricity prices is questionable. The transition from coal-fired powerplants to natural gas has modestly raised the cost of electricity for customers, but lowered expenses for power companies, due to the fuel being piped in, and the ability of gas fired boilers to be fired up and shut down more quickly, even though the fuel is still somewhat more costly. The potential problem with natural gas and its availability is that the huge supply that enabled power plants to switch was due to fracking. There's a strong movement against fracking, whose success would curtail electrical generation and cause skyrocketing prices. A reduced supply of electricity and a huge increase in demand for vehicle recharging looks like a disaster in the making, one that renewables will be unable to solve.

    • See 1 previous
    • Mcs Mcs on Jan 20, 2020

      @SCE to AUX I put in a newer efficient HVAC system plus modernization of appliances the same time my EV arrived. So, I haven't noticed any changes. I also have the ability to charge at my typical destinations, so I'm only paying for 1/2 of my driving. One of my work locations recently added a Bloom Energy fuel cell for power. Runs off of natural gas. The decision to get the system was based on economic reasons. It's cheaper than buying from the grid. Bloom told me they had several installations here in Massachusetts and around the country. Renewables are getting cheaper and it's starting to have an impact. It's beginning to look as though renewables will in fact be able to meet any new energy demands.

  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.
  • Kendahl One thing I've learned is that cars I buy for local errands tend to be taken on 1,000 mile trips, too. We have a 5-speed Focus SE that has gone on longer trips than I ever expected. It has served us well although, if I had it to do over again, I would have bought an ST. At the time of purchase, we didn't plan to move from 1,000 feet elevation to 6,500. The SE is still adequate but the ST's turbo and extra power would have been welcome.