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Kia Niro PHEV unlikely to return

Kia Australia is “very happy” with local reception to the new-generation Niro crossover, but the plug-in hybrid version isn’t likely to rejoin the Australian range.

Kia’s local chief operating officer, Damien Meredith, told CarExpert he’s pleased with current volumes of the new Niro – and the Niro Plus purpose built vehicle (PBV) – but stopped short of indicated a return of the Niro Plug-in Hybrid.

“We’re very happy with the numbers we’re doing,” Mr Meredith said.

“[But] will we bring back Niro Plug-in Hybrid, probably not.”

Mr Meredith added that the original indicated figure of 100-150 units per month of the new Niro across both Hybrid (HEV) and EV models remains accurate for our market.

“It’s about that, yeah,” he said.

General manager of product planning, Roland Rivero, also reiterated the fact tight supply in Australia is largely down to the priority given to global markets with tight emissions regulations – nothing we haven’t heard before, then.

“There’s strong demand [in Australia], but we’re competing with other markets that have CO2 regulations. So, we’ll be happy with what we can get,” Mr Rivero said.

The new Niro and Niro Plus have boosted the nameplate’s fortunes in Australia of late, with October’s year to date (YTD) figure of 1118 units showing growth of 117.1 per cent relative to the 2021 Jan-Oct period.

October’s monthly figure of 207 registrations was also an improvement of 76.9 per cent. The Niro’s market share in 2022 has more than doubled, from 0.5 per cent to 1.1 per cent of the small SUV segment.

Pricing for the Kia Niro Hybrid starts at $44,380 before on-road costs for the entry-level S, climbing to $50,030 plus on-roads for the up-spec GT-Line. The Niro EV, meanwhile, kicks off from $65,300 for the S and $72,100 for the GT-Line.

The previous-generation PHEV accounted for less than 10 per cent of overall sales, so it’s understandable why the local division doesn’t want to prioritise already limited production for a low-demand variation – though it did homologate the PHEV version for sale here.

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