Kia to launch new hybrid model in the UK

March 20, 2014 | By | In News

Kia is to expand its British model line up to include a petrol-electric hybrid, the brand's UK chief has confirmed to Motors.co.uk.

Speaking at the launch of the new Soul compact crossover, Paul Philpott, President of Kia UK, said that a hybrid power train would offer greater choice and flexibility for customers, and would sit alongside other green offerings including the forthcoming, solely battery powered Soul EV.

"We are a progressive brand," said Philpott. "We want to offer a range of options that suit the varying needs of our customers.

"Hybrid is certainly a power train that will join the Kia right-hand drive range in the not too distant future."

The Korean manufacturer has offered a hybrid version of its Optima family saloon in its left-hand drive markets for some time, though this would be the first time a part-electric model wearing the Kia badge would be available in the UK.

Philpott would not be drawn on exactly which model would be the first to receive the hybrid technology, though did confirm that it would not be the current generation of the slow-selling Optima saloon.

However, the brand is currently focussing its attention on its first global fully-electric vehicle, the Soul EV. Destined to hit selected dealerships in the fourth quarter of this year, the Battery powered crossover will be priced to compete with the Nissan Leaf, and will offer a similar driving range and charging functionality.

Hybrid is certainly a power train that will join the Kia right-hand drive range in the not too distant future.

Only one high-spec trim level will be offered, alongside a choice of just two paint finishes.

Despite the significant investment the model represents, Philpott remains modest about European sales forecasts.

"We're talking hundreds of units annually, rather than thousands," he said.

"It will remain a comparatively limited part of the line-up, but despite that we feel it is important to offer a range of power choices to our customers.

"Betting on which technology will be used most in the future is difficult. I personally feel that petrol and Diesel engines have a long way to go yet, but progressively we need to offer a variety of different solutions."

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Picture from Kia

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