Kia will introduce a full range of connected car services for the Australian market through its own proprietary ‘Kia Connect’ app, including its own music-streaming product, from 2022.
The ecosystem will likely make its debut in either the new-generation Kia Niro, the brand’s electrified small SUV model expected to arrive around the middle of 2022, or the updated Seltos with similar timing in play.
“Telematics or ‘connected car services’ is something we are still working on and developing for a local roll-out across our entire range of vehicles, which will be introduced as new models and mid-life updates are released,” Kia Australia head of product planning Roland Rivero told CarExpert at the launch of the new-generation Sportage this week.
Sister brand Hyundai has previously used a third-party solution in Australia, but will introduce its proprietary connected car services App called Bluelink, which is currently in use in markets like the United States.
However Rivero indicated Kia could be first cab off the rank in Australia with its Connect App.
Kia says its proprietary system developed at the massive Namyang R&D centre will offer a range of services, including:
- Theft warning
- Vehicle tracking
- Automatic call to emergency services in the event of an accident
- Remote activation of climate control
- Remote door locking and unlocking
- Remote seat heating and cooling
- Vehicle status check (battery charge remaining)
- Remote sunroof operation
- ‘Find my car’ service
That’s just a sample of products for Kia’s Stage 1 rollout of the services. Stage 2 is likely to add additional features such as:
- Over-the-air updates
- Embedded streaming services including Kia’s own proprietary music streaming product
- Local area search
- Local weather forecast
- EV charging fees and locations
Kia is also working on a system that can immobilise the vehicle remotely under special circumstances, although the legal minefield with such a product might mean it takes years to introduce.
The brand is tight-lipped when it comes to pricing, but you may not have to pay a cent. That will likely depend of the complete list of ‘services’ provided at time of launch.
Connected car services are already offered by a number of car brands in Australia.
Brands like Toyota, for example, offer a range of complimentary connected services on certain models including SOS emergency call, Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Tracking, Vehicle Locator, and Vehicle Status, but only for a period of three years.
Premium brand BMW offers a range of packages which it bundles under its ‘Connected Drive’ offering, which is charged on an annual basis with prices ranging from $125 to $175. Other digital services are charged on a per-item basis and activated over-the-air.