With sales figures posting significantly higher than expected, Kia Motors America is changing its market strategy for the Soul EV by looking beyond zero emission “compliance” states.
After the initial debut of the Soul EV last October in California, Kia planned to send the battery electric to markets in Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. These are all states that have pledged to adhere to California’s zero emission mandate.
But with sales coming in much higher than anticipated, Kia is rethinking that strategy. Instead, the next state slated for the Soul EV will be Georgia, with sales beginning next quarter. The region has recently been marked as a hotbed for electric cars, with Atlanta ranking first in the nation for EV sales.
Kia noted that Georgia car buyers will have plenty of options for charging, with more than 2,800 stations across the state.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Kia Soul EV Road Test
In June, Kia will begin deliveries of the Soul EV to Hawaii, Oregon, Texas and Washington. Specific dealers haven’t been identified yet, but the carmaker said each location will be able to offer consumers service and charging for the electric cars. Oregon is the only market carried forward from the original plan.
With its announcement of the new markets, officials with Kia explained why each state was selected.
“Electric vehicle demand has been growing in these states, and consumers there have expressed significant interest in Soul EV,” said a statement from Kia.
“With more than 18,000 charging stations combined, the robust EV infrastructure within these markets makes battery-powered travel convenient and an increasingly appealing choice for consumers.”
Kia plans to add more markets next year, and said it is still evaluating which areas will yield the best results. Growth beyond the current expansion will likely depend on the production levels.
In an interview with Charged just three weeks ago, Kia EV Product Manager Steve Kosowski talked about how limited production has held back the company so far.
“The issue is actually getting enough cars,” said Kosowski. “The Soul EV is the first electric car we’ve sold outside of Korea. So, we want to make sure that the quality is there, that the suppliers and the distributors and the dealers and everybody in the whole chain is ready and there are no problems.”