It was only short-lived, but the fleet-only Kia Niro Plus purpose-built vehicle (PBV) has already been axed locally.

    Kia Australia product planning general manager Roland Rivero told CarExpert the local market was a “one of the test markets [for Niro Plus] and there is no more to come”.

    “It was only a really short period of supply which are all now sold,” said Mr Rivero.

    Essentially what looked like the lovechild of the first-generation Kia Niro and Rondo, the high-roofed Niro Plus was aimed to cater for taxi and ride-share operators.

    It’s understood a large number of Niro Plus examples were sold to Splend, which is a car subscription service for ride share drivers.

    Australia only received the hybrid (HEV) and electric (EV) versions of the Niro Plus in a sole, fleet-focused S specification. They were priced from $47,710 before on-roads and $64,450 before on-roads, respectively.

    There was a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the Niro Plus, but it remained off the cards locally. Kia Australia pulled a similar move when introducing the second-generation Niro last year.

    Beyond the Kia Niro Plus, Mr Rivero confirmed that PBVs are evolving and “naturally from Australia we will join that journey”.

    He added that the next-generation Kia PBVs will be a “different execution”.

    As previously reported, the South Korean teased its next PBVs that will be produced at a dedicated factory that’s set to open in the second half of 2025.

    Kia is currently working on four dedicated vehicles that will use its new eS platform, which is a dedicated electric skateboard platform. All of them have boxy bodies and short overhangs.

    The first to launch will be a mid-sized mode, codenamed SW, that’s due in 2025. It will be able to serve not only as a delivery vehicle, but also one for ride-hailing.

    The small PBV looks close to a Picanto in size, while a larger PBV will be available for shuttle, mobile office and delivery applications.

    Kia has previously said its small and medium PBVs will offer autonomous driving technology.

    MORE: Everything Kia Niro
    MORE: Kia teases its upcoming electric vans, including a robo-taxi

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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