Kia e-Niro 2020: supply boost promised

South Korean firm commits to cutting lead times for its e-Niro and Soul EV electric SUVs

The Kia e-Niro and Soul EV will be supplied in greater numbers in 2020, the South Korean manufacturer has promised.

The e-Niro – which won our Car of the Year prize for 2019 – sold out its entire allocation for that year in a matter of weeks, having gone on sale in January.

Only 900 examples of the electric SUV were set aside for the UK, and its popularity left thousands of potential customers facing lead times of 12 months or more.

However, Kia says it will clear the existing, 3000-strong waiting list for the car in the first six months of 2020, with new orders placed from today (2 December) set to be fulfilled from July next year.

The company also hopes to fill more of the demand for electric cars with the new Soul EV, the first deliveries of which are due to take place in April.

“Since launching e-Niro at the beginning of the year, we have received unprecedented demand, which has been a challenge to fulfil,” said Paul Philpott, president and CEO at Kia UK. “As we enter 2020 with the Soul EV and e-Niro, we and our 190-strong dealer network are ready to meet customer demand for all-electric cars.”

Battery supply for both Kia and Hyundai (as well as other electric-car manufacturers) has been a key issue, with demand for models like the Hyundai Kona Electric exceeding UK allocations.

In February 2019, a Kia spokesperson said the issue would likely remain “a restraining factor for at least another 12 to 18 months”, despite the battery suppliers Samsung and LG doubling their production output this year. 

With supply issues restricting sales in 2019, fresh competition arrived in the affordable electric SUV market, in the form of the MG ZS EV. Alternatives in the electric supermini class – such as the Vauxhall Corsa-e, Peugeot e-208 and the new Renault ZOE – are also likely to draw interest among those waiting longest.