Kia showed off a new Trail’ster AWD concept vehicle with off-road capabilities at the Chicago Auto Show, but it was news about the Soul EV that stole the show for many.
Initially, Kia had said that the all-electric version of the Soul would be made available in 5 states – California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland – but they now say it will be hitting additional markets.
They did remain pretty silent on exactly where those spots would be. At present, there are only 17 dealerships in California that carry the Soul EV.
Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning for Kia Motors America, said that the next stage was meant to be the release of the vehicle on the east coast, but he said that things will be changing a little in order to increase availability.
Hedrick said the decision to change came from the fact that more new customers are interested in the vehicle.
Kia are delighted with how well their first-ever electric vehicle has been received in the U.S. market, and they have made it known that they are now attracting new customers that would normally never have visited a Kia dealership.
Hendricks said that Kia have not really been caught off guard by the large amount of consumer interest in their compliance car.
He said that from the very start, the company had tried to get beyond the whole compliance aspect so that they could simply deliver a vehicle that would fit nicely into the Soul family.
People already knew about the Soul, so that served as a reason to get them excited about a new direction for the vehicle.
To say that Kia is happy with response to the all-electric model is understating things quite a bit.
The EV has been a big hit for Kia, with early production estimates now looking as though they are going to be a whole lot less than what the high demand for the vehicle actually is.
The Soul EV is currently built in Korea and exported to the USA and Europe, so production plants are not quite prepared to ramp up their operations just yet, but Hendricks said that there should be more information about that part of the process when the New York Auto Show opens on April 1.