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Kia Australia targeting sales record, as supply struggles continue

Kia Australia has been able to bring down backorders for the Carnival and is expected to secure more EV6s, but supply for some models remains tight.

William Stopford
William Stopford
Journalist
Published

Kia Australia says it doesn’t expect supply levels to improve for at least 12 months, and the EV6 in particular remains supply-constrained.

Despite the hold-ups on some models though, it’s expecting to sell a record 72,000 vehicles this year, up from 67,964 last year. Of that figure, it expects 2000 will be electrified and no more than 600 of those will be of its new EV6.

“In my view, I think it’s going to be at least 12 months [before supply levels normalise],” said Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith.

“I think what’s going to happen is that the demand will drop off a little bit, supply will increase and therefore we’re going to fulfil the back orders that have occurred over the last 18 months.”

Almost every automaker has been grappling with supply issues, as the industry reckons with a shortage of semiconductors, and as COVID-19 lockdowns in China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine affect production of key components.

Electric vehicles have been especially hard for carmakers to bring to Australia, with most prioritising markets such as Europe with fleet emissions targets.

While it says supply of the new, second-generation Niro will be “okay”, Kia Australia has been battling to secure further EV6 allocations.

“I think we’re probably looking at maybe 600 this year rather than the 500 allocated. That’s a 20 per cent increase,” said Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith.

“That’s better than nothing.”

Kia has previously said demand is strong enough for it to sell 3000 EV6s annually, but it can’t get that kind of supply.

Mr Meredith says the current waiting time for an EV6 is 12 months or more. However, he noted there are a handful currently for sale within its dealership network, while many of those orders are for the upcoming GT flagship.

Of the 2000 electrified vehicles Kia intends to sell this year, most are supply-constrained, like the Sorento hybrid and plug-in hybrid.

Kia confirmed earlier this year it was only able to bring in 20 Sorento hybrids per month and just 10 per month of the PHEV.

It isn’t just electrified models where supply is lacking.

The Seltos, in particular, has been in short supply for the last 18 months and the situation isn’t expected to change with the updated model due in the second half of this year.

Kia says backorders for the Carnival people mover are starting to come down. The company confirmed earlier this year that some backorders were up to 12 months old.

The Sportage is another vehicle where things are returning to some semblance of normalcy.

“We are constantly negotiating for better supply [with Kia Global],” said Kia Australia product planning manager Roland Rivero.

“We are optimistic we can secure more stock [of Sportage] in the second half of 2022]”

While some dealers have made news for charging higher-than-expected dealer delivery fees – the Ford Ranger being one example – Mr Meredith says the company has been able to ensure the dealer network has been sensible.

He says a far bigger issue for its cars is people buying them and then selling them for a considerably higher price.

He acknowledged the issue has been affecting the EV6, Carnival and Sorento.

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William Stopford
William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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