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Kia has shocked the industry with a surprise low price-tag for its EV5 electric mid-size SUV for the Chinese market.
While the brand had previously stated to international media at the SUV’s reveal that it was expecting a starting price of well over $50,000, the EV5’s Chinese launch was accompanied with a starting price-tag of ¥149,800 - which converts to AU$32,033. Even in China this pricing came as a surprise, with local media reporting it was expecting a minimum price-tag of ¥159,800 (A$35,143).
But is there a catch? It seems so. Like the Atto 3 which gets more stripped-back and affordable versions tailored to the Chinese market, one tagline of the EV5 in the Chinese market is “in China, for China.” The low-cost market is one of Kia’s key strategic pillars, which is why this instrumental new electric mid-sizer will be built there.
It feels safe to assume though, that Australian-delivered cars will be in a higher specification than the price-leading $32,033 model which will arrive in China. For export markets, Kia’s international division was more pessimistic about price expectations, telling media in Korea that it expects even the price-leading EV3 will arrive with a starting price of around A$54,000.
Recent comments made by Kia’s Australian arm seem to confirm the brand will avoid entering into a price-war with its Chinese rivals, instead focusing on higher-spec models which suit its new higher-end brand positioning in Australia.
“If you’re developing your brand – and we’ve put a lot of work into that – and getting great product, if you can easily translate that to the customer that this is still great value, like the EV9, then do you really want to play in the puddle that is $30,000, or $25,000?” Kia Australia CEO Damien Meredith said at the time.
"If something becomes available, like a smaller EV that’s $40k, we’ll have our hand up for it. But you need to be cautious. We’ve worked hard on getting our brand up, and you need to keep looking at that."
In case you missed it, Kia confirmed at the reveal of the EV5 in Korea earlier in 2023 that Australian-delivered models will also be sourced from the Chinese factory. The brand also confirmed that the EV5 would be the first car on the Hyundai Group e-GMP platform to switch to front-wheel drive as opposed to rear-wheel drive, and will also be the first to feature the more affordable LFP battery chemistry.
The base model will feature a 64kWh battery for a preliminary driving range of 520km according to the Chinese combined testing protocol (expect less range when rated to the more accepted-in-Australia WLTP standard). Long Range versions, meanwhile, will be equipped with an 88kWh battery good for up to 720km of driving range. An all-wheel-drive version will also be available.
So far the EV5 has only been seen in a relatively high specification, featuring large alloy wheels, synthetic leather interior trim, high-end interior fittings, and a sunroof. It remains to be seen what kind of specification an entry-level car will arrive with.
The EV5 is set to arrive in Australia over the course of 2024, although more specific timing is yet to be confirmed.