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”.
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.