[THE INVESTOR] Kia Motors, the nation’s second-largest carmaker, on June 27 said it has decided not to release an electric version of the new Stonic subcompact SUV, despite growing speculation.
“We don’t have plans to release Stonic EV in the future,” Seo Bo-won, Kia’s domestic marketing director, told reporters at the unveiling event of Stonic held at the automaker’s Namyang Research & Development Center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. He added the model will not have green car options, such as hybrid or PHEV.
His remarks came in response to media reports saying a pure electric version of Stonic will be launched next year, with a driving range of 390 kilometers on a single charge.
The carmaker’s decision is part of its strategy to differentiate Stonic from its Niro compact crossover SUV that focuses on eco-friendly options. “We are not offering a gasoline or diesel powertrain for Niro,” he said, adding the automaker plans to release Niro EV soon, in addition to the PHEV and hybrid version already launched in the country.
As for Stonic, only diesel option will be available when the cars go on sales from July 13. The carmaker is mulling whether to release the gasoline powertrain.
Stonic boasts an affordable price tag that ranges from 19 million won (US$16,709) to 23 million won. That is about 2 million won cheaper than its compact car rivals, including its own Niro SUV, Hyundai Motor’s Kona, SsangYong Motor’s Tivoli and Renault Samsung’s QM3.
The Stonic entry is expected to heat up the already competitive compact SUV segment in Korea, with Tivoli as the top-seller and Hyundai aiming to take over with its latest Kona compact SUV that was released earlier this month.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)