Make / Model Search

News - Kia - Niro - Plus

Kia Niro Plus experiment ends

Purpose Built Vehicle test over, as all vehicles sold

8 Jun 2023

KIA Australia has confirmed the end of its first Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV) program, with the Niro Plus model now no longer available to order.

The Niro Plus PBV was essentially a last-generation example of the small SUV that had been tweaked to suit ride-share driver needs specifically, with a taller roof and larger cargo area offering a more practical option than the existing ‘standard’ Niro model.


It was available in both hybrid ($41,710 plus ORC) and electric ($64,450 plus ORC) trims, and the brand says it was a successful pilot program that acted as a proof of concept for such a potential product path.


Electric vehicles have accounted for 32,050 sales to the end of May 2023, making up more than seven per cent of all vehicles sold in Australia. Indeed, EVs are now more popular in terms of numbers of vehicles sold than hybrids, with 29,293 petrol-electric examples sold to the end of May 2023. Plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) have accounted for a further 2797 sales.


Roland Rivero, general manager of product planning and training for Kia Australia, told media this week that the Niro Plus PBV experiment is over, having done its job as a concept-to-reality project for the Korean brand.


“We were, let’s say, one of the test markets for it. There are no more to come. It was only a very short period of supply, and they’re all sold,” said Mr Rivero.


“So - as an experiment, or a test, so to speak - the quantities that arrived in Australia, all went,” he said.


The number of examples that were sold in Australia tallied just 148, with only 14 of those being EV versions, and the remainder being the far more affordable and more Uber-friendly hybrid (134 examples).


Ho Sung Song, head of global operations, has made it clear that the brand is looking to offer vehicles like the Niro Plus in the future, as a means of meeting the needs of specific market segments such as on-demand drivers.


“Mr Song, in his presentation, said the global planning strategy does speak of purpose built vehicles evolving beyond that, and in Australia we’ll be joining that journey as it evolves,” said Mr Rivero.


“No way will it be the last purpose built vehicle, but it’ll be a different execution,” he said, though wouldn’t be drawn to talk further on the next example.


The new-generation Niro model range remains on sale in both hybrid (from $44,380 and electric from $65,300, both plus ORC), and the brand says that it is ‘doing its job’ despite new rivals arriving with lower pricing, such as the MG ZS EV Long Range, MG 4 EV, and BYD Atto 3.


To the end of May 2023, EVs accounted for about seven per cent of the total market share in Australia, or 32,050 units year to date. That’s up from a share of 1.9 per cent for the same period last year.


In 2023 so far, EVs are outpacing hybrid vehicle sales. There have been 29,293 hybrids sold to the end of May 2023, while plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) have accounted for 2797 sales.


Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Kia articles

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here