The Kia Niro just got here, but there’s already a replacement coming sometime in 2022.
Kia Australia was late getting its hands on the current car, which means it’ll have a short lifecycle in Australia.
Its replacement will wear styling inspired by the HabaNiro concept revealed at the 2019 New York motor show and is expected to continue to offer hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric variants.
Prototypes of the new car have already been spied testing.
Kia Australia has been working for some time to get its hands on the Niro, and has therefore gone ahead with introducing the outgoing model rather than wait any longer.
“It took a little longer than expected due to strong global demand exceeding production capacity. Naturally, in that situation, it’s understandable that stock will be prioritised for regions with CO2 regulations and tax penalties,” said Kia Australia product planning manager Roland Rivero.
Kia is expecting just over 100 monthly sales for the 2021 Niro.
It expects 70 of these to be hybrid, with 20 EVs and 10 PHEVs.
Sales will initially be predominantly private buyers, though it expects the mix to eventually comprise 55/45 per cent private/fleet sales.
It also doesn’t expect the Niro to cannibalise any of the other SUVs in its line-up, nor does it expect it to steal market share from rivals.
Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith says the growing market for electrified and electric vehicles in Australia will give Kia incremental sales growth.
“We think that the market is growing, and therefore with the cake getting bigger our slice won’t affect what’s going on with Kona… We’re not looking at any conquest business at all,” said Mr Meredith.
“Our derivative EVs like Niro, Kona and Ioniq, they are market-leading already in efficiency and range. It’s just too good to give up on this,” said Hyundai R&D boss Albert Biermann.
“We will continue with derivative EVs based on our next-generation front-wheel drive platform. They will also become more efficient with better performance.”
The introduction of the Niro gives Kia Australia its first all-electric vehicle, though the E-GMP-based EV6 is due in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Kia says all bar two or three of its service centres, located in regional areas, have been approved and trained to sell and maintain all versions of the Niro.
Closely related to the Hyundai Kona, which also features an all-electric version, the Niro was revealed at the 2016 Chicago motor show and was introduced in markets like Europe and the US later that year.
Kia executives have likened the Niro’s status to that of the TA-series Picanto.
Introduced early in 2016, the TA Picanto came to Australia at the very end of its lifecycle.
It lasted around 12 months on the Australian market before the current, JA-series Picanto replaced it.
While the TA Picanto was available in a single variant, the Niro has a six-member range comprising hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric powertrains and two trim levels.
To view a complete rundown of the 2021 Niro range, check out our pricing and specs article.