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June 21, 2023

Kia PH's New Boss Aims To Electrify Line-Up With More BEV, HEV Offerings

Brian Buendia is a man on a mission. Taking over the leadership role over at Kia Philippines from the retiring Manny Aligada, the new Chief Operating Officer is pivoting the Korean brand to become a local New Energy Vehicle leader with more BEV and even HEV offerings.

“Dynamic, innovative, and inspiring. These are the pillars upon which my vision for Kia Philippines is based,” says Buendia. “We will refine the Kia buying and ownership experience by bringing our corporate identity and culture to the fore. [We will] establish Kia as a major player in the rapidly growing electric vehicle (EV) market through our EV6 and future new energy vehicle (NEV) models,” said Buendia, a 25-year AC Motors veteran.

Aila Peñaflor, Kia Philippines Product Planning Officer, has confirmed the arrival of two electrified models by 2024 in the Philippines. One is confirmed to be yet another Battery Electric Vehicle (likely the EV9), while the other is a HEV (likely the Sorento HEV or Sportage HEV).

In the same time frame, Kia will also launch two traditional Internal Combustion Engine models in “key and competitive segments.” Peñaflor said that one is a refresh of a current model (likely the Picanto or Seltos), while the other is an all-new model.

AC Motor’s move to offer more electrified vehicles is aligned with Kia’s global strategy. By 2027, the automaker plans to have 15 EVs in its line-up. By 2030, they have set a 4.3-million global sales target, out of which, 2.3 million are electrified vehicles.

For his part, Antonio “Toti” Zara III, President for Automobile Group of AC Motors says they’re ready to carve out an even larger share in the local EV segment.

Despite supply constraints, Kia Philippines has already managed to sell six EV6 BEV crossovers so far. Building on that momentum, the brand will continue to take advantage of the current incentives for EVs. The EVIDA law offers exemption from excise taxes until early 2028; a 30 percent discount on MV users’ charges on registration, inspection, and renewal; and more infrastructure dedicated to EV parking and charging slots.

By 2027, AC Motors projects that the new car sales in the Philippines will hit 519,000 units based on the planned growth rates applied this year. Out of this number, 82,425 or 15.8 percent will be electrified. Broken down further, 71,013 or 13.6 percent will be BEVs, while only 11,412 or 2.19 percent will be HEV.

Zara attributes the high growth rate for EVs locally down to a price parity happening between BEVs and ICE vehicles. This will also render the “price advantage” of HEVs moot as well. This is especially true as BEV offerings start rolling out in the compact (C-segment) and sub-compact (B-segment) passenger car and commercial vehicle segments.

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