Uncertainty has marked the automotive sector since the beginning of the year. Car sales,
collapsed in 2020, have started a certain rebound thanks to the evolution of the pandemic. Despite all the Covid-19, it will mark the remaining six months of 2021 with one objective, that of the main manufacturers and sellers, which is none other than to get as close as possible to the 2019 figures.
At the moment the recovery has been lower than expected for most of the brands, but in the specific case of
the Korean firm has managed to exceed 26,000 units total sales, 54% more compared to the first half of 2020 and with a 5.9% share, positioning itself as the sixth best-selling brand in the Spanish market.
15,200 units have been sold on the private channel, in which Kia is the second best-selling brand to individuals with a 9.1% market share in June.
Currently 60% of Kia’s sales are electrified, including the different technologies of the brand (hybrids, 48v hybrids, plug-in hybrids and 100% electric).
in the first six months of the year the Ceed range (5 doors, Tourer, ProCeed and XCeed) accounts for 25% of total sales, followed by the Kia Stonic (21%) and Sportage (21%).
Despite the uncertainties still existing in Spain (economic evolution derived from the pandemic,
consumer confidence, launch of Moves III plan or the effect of the reduction of the registration tax via the change in CO2 levels by WLTP), the brand is positive and expects to grow to reach 56,400 total units, and an 8.9% market share in the private channel.
The new EV6, the first model with the E-GMP vehicle platform
what will come after the summer, represents the spearhead of Kia’s future electric vehicle strategy and sees the launch of 11 electric models between now and 2026.
About the future of the brand and its perspectives for the second half of 2021 we have spoken with
Eduardo Divar, CEO of Kia Iberia.
– How is the Moves III plan working, despite the fact that some autonomous communities have not yet implemented it?
– The Moves plan is very good. 7,000 euros for cars with the scrapping plan, and 5,000 euros without scrapping is a good program. What happens is that at the moment it is valid for individuals, and not for companies. We are waiting for the regularization of the autonomous communities to be for companies as well, and we hope that it can be expanded much more. There is no need to be restrictive. We must have open-mindedness when applying the Moves, which is 400 million euros so that anyone who wants to electrify can do so, be it a company, a self-employed person or an individual. We are fighting it with the government from ANFAC, so that the future developments of the Moves are much better.
– Another issue that has been delayed due to a lack of consensus is the reorganization of the DGT’s environmental labels. What do you expect from this possible modification?
– Ecologists ask for one thing, we ask for another, but there is one fundamental thing that I think is common sense. If what we want is to have less CO2, let’s not penalize on the labels the cars that give us less CO2, electric apart. Let’s not penalize the plug-in hybrid and let’s not penalize hybrids. Wouldn’t it be better for consumers who currently consume gasoline and diesel to switch to plug-in hybrids? It is better that they make that transition than penalize and that people continue to buy gasoline and diesel, because they do not find any improvement in buying hybrid and plug-in. That in five years we see that a plug-in hybrid is being sold and we have to strengthen the electric one … well, we will make the change then, but today what people have to do is get into the car plug-in, because you have all the advantages of the combustion car and none of the disadvantages of the electric one. You have to get used to the discipline of plugging in, and that is important.
– What are Kia’s keys to having achieved these results in the first half of a year as complicated as this one?
– Last year we finished as the first brand in the segment of individuals, which gives us a certain advantage when it comes to facing the market. It is true that this year a lack has begun, between the pandemic, the storm Filomena, which paralyzed several autonomous communities …
With all this we have been overcoming the difficulties, with a market falling by 30-40% compared to 2019, and it is true that dealerships have lost money at the beginning of the year, because we have sold much less. But in the end we have been adjusting, the market has improved, with falls of 20-30%, and in June it has reactivated, hoping that the recovery will be much more noticeable by July. We expect a much better second semester than the first one.
– Sales to individuals are the ones that suffer the most, with individuals being the highest percentage of Kia customers. Can this affect them?
– Indeed, we have been the leading brand in private sales last year, with an 8.9% market share. This year we are at 9.1%, and indeed, we have always treated the private market much more and we have taken care of it much more. This year the private segment is being balanced much more with the ‘business car’. The market for companies is growing a lot and they are almost on par, but it is true that dealers work in the private market and it is the private consumer who has to pull. We believe that in the second semester, with the great savings rate in families, the consumer level increasing, and seeing the end of the pandemic with the advance of vaccinations, this will make it possible for us to maintain and regain ground lost.
– Can the reduction in registration tax be seen in the increase in registrations between now and the end of the year?
– Undoubtedly it will be noticed as long as the brands have enough cars and are not affected by the microchip crisis. We are relatively affected by it because our range is fully electrified and we have few cars affected by CO2 levels in the registration tax. Something affects us, obviously, and this is going to cause demand to increase a lot throughout the year, especially in the face of November and December, because in January we will return to the old system. But this announcement, plus vaccination, and the economic recovery are all factors that will help us improve in the second half of the year.
– To a fully electrified range we must add something that a few years ago was practically unthinkable, since its diesel vehicle sales very little exceeded 1% of the total.
– Indeed, we aspire to be leaders in electrification in 2022-2023. Currently in our fuel sales distribution 52% are hybrids, both gasoline and diesel, but this is where we have to go. The European Union has established that all manufacturers have to have certain levels of CO2, and manufacturers have put ourselves to work to do so. And I believe that the journey we have taken is not the same as the public administrations, who have a lot to do.
– Where do these public administrations have to go?
– We have 17,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles compared to 8,000 electric vehicles so far this year. What is certain is that there must be a homogenization in terms of the benefits that electric vehicles have in the Spanish market. It cannot be that someone buys an electric in Madrid and can park freely on the street, they can go for free tolls and for the VAO Bus, and not in Almería, Málaga or Cádiz. What incentive does the Cadiz consumer have to give an example? Well, none, and if the electric car is still more expensive, then you will not buy it. We have asked it countless times to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, which has to create a homogenization of benefits to consumers. Not to mention VAT. If we want the price of the electric vehicle to be more similar to the combustion vehicle, I believe that governments have to remove this tax from electric cars and plug-in hybrids. At that time the demand will be activated much more, because the electric and plug-in costs between 7,000 and 13,000 euros more than a combustion one. So, either we position the vehicle at an appropriate price, or we give it advantages to be able to function, or we put restrictions with low-emission zones such as those in municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, or we will not get what we want.
– With rising electricity rates, can this also make a potential electric vehicle buyer think twice?
– Today with the fleet of electric vehicles it is not noticeable yet. Electric vehicles would also be charged mostly at night, but despite the increase in electricity rates, electric operators continue to charge 0.30 or 0.40 per kilowatt, and it has not changed much in recent times. In the end, perhaps what least affects the purchase of the electric car are the electricity rates. But also. What is essential is that there are charging points, which are essential. Today it is not necessary to have a charger at home. If we had a charging infrastructure point around the cities where we could charge in 20 minutes, and then the car charge lasts four weeks, you don’t need to have a plug in your garage. What is needed is a recharging infrastructure in which the State has a lot to say. Logically, the electricity companies, so that we can go along a highway calmly and charge every 200 kilometers for 20 minutes. That does not get heavy, it is a more or less affordable charge, and it can make people decide much more for an electric vehicle. But we are still a bit far away for that.