Kia Motors is adding a hybrid option to its Carnival minivan to fulfil increased consumer demand for the technology and assist in meeting tougher federal fuel economy criteria.
As automakers work to improve car efficiency and avoid expensive federal fuel economy and pollution rules, they are increasingly offering hybrid automobiles. Additionally, they are less costly and a less drastic change for those who wish to be environmentally conscious but aren’t yet ready to buy entirely electric cars.
Though they are predicted to increase, EV sales in the US auto industry have not increased as quickly as anticipated.
In hybrid cars, an electric motor and little battery are paired with an internal combustion engine, much like in a regular car. They don’t require a plug, unlike plug-in hybrid electric cars or EVs, and operate just like regular cars.
Giving customers options is why Kia America Vice President of Marketing Russell Wager told CNBC that the company added the hybrid option for the Carnival. The goal of the South Korean automaker is to offer electrified vehicles throughout its range.
Wager told CNBC, “It’s just going to add a whole extra audience, because we didn’t have a hybrid.”
In the summer, a revised model of the conventional minivan is anticipated to go on sale with the hybrid Carnival, which made its announcement at the Chicago Auto Show. Compared to the present model, which created waves in the family hauler market with its SUV-inspired design when it was released in 2021, both versions have improved exterior and interior innovations.
Pricing and fuel efficiency specifications for the new cars were not disclosed by Kia. The price range for the current Carnival is from $33,000 to $47,000. With a 3.5-liter V6 engine, it can go 418 miles on a single charge and earn up to 20.6 mpg on the interstate and in cities.
According to Kia, the 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo-hybrid engine, which generates 242 horsepower and 271 foot-pounds of torque, will still be available in addition to the V6 engine.
According to the business, Kia anticipates that the hybrid model will make up half of the Carnival’s sales.
The hybrid will be Kia’s fourth model. Additionally, the manufacturer sells three electric plug-in hybrid cars.
The revised minivan has a modified front and rear, with new lights and a broader, more open grille on the front of the car, in addition to the hybrid option. Kia’s latest infotainment system and other modern technology are featured in the redesigned cabin. Like a conventional reclining chair, it still offers “VIP lounge seating” with power controls and leg extensions.
Even though the number of vehicles in the U.S. minivan market has significantly decreased from its peak of over 1.5 million in the mid-1990s, certain automakers, including Hyundai and Chrysler, still operate in this market.
According to car data company Motor Intelligence, Kia’s parent company Hyundai, which sold fewer than 44,000 Carnivals last year, held a 14% market share of the about 305,500-unit minivan market in the United States.
With sales of more than 120,550 Pacifica minivans, including a plug-in hybrid electric variant, or over 40% of the market, Chrysler led the segment last year.
Wager stated, “We don’t like where we are in terms of our market share.” “We believe we can compete with any other team in the division.”
Wager stated that Kia may increase sales in the United States if they were able to import a larger quantity of the Carnival, a car that is imported from South Korea, due to capacity constraints.
He stated that the corporation is expanding its Carnival production capacity for the United States.
The manufacturer should be able to surpass its record-breaking 782,451 car sales in the United States last year with the help of the increased capacity and increased manufacturing of other Kia models.
“We want to surpass our record-breaking sales from last year,” Wager stated.