Home » Kia To Make Most Models Hybrids As EV Market Slows

Kia To Make Most Models Hybrids As EV Market Slows

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That’s right, folks, it’s another Monday morning here at The Morning Dump and another morning that confirms my belief that 2024 is the “Year of the Hybrid.” Should we get shirts made? Am I the only person who would wear that shirt? Probably.

While Kia’s EV portfolio has expanded with a wide range of extremely appealing electric cars, the reality is the market needs and wants cheaper EVs and hybrids right now. Kia’s answer? More hybrids! And, also, a few more EVs.

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The slowdown in the EV market is also hitting Tesla, which announced it would cut 10% of its workforce in the face of demand uncertainty and a price war. While Stellantis is less exposed to fluctuations in EV demand, it’s facing price pressure like everyone else. One of the company’s tactics has been to squeeze suppliers. Those suppliers have squeezed back and stopped shipping the company parts.

And, finally, both Cadillac and Ford are facing recall troubles.

Kia Going Even More Hybrid

A teaser shot of the facelifted 2023 Kia Telluride
Photo credit: Kia

It’s not that Kia doesn’t make hybrids. Kia makes hybrids.

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Right now in North America, you can get the Niro as a hybrid or a nice PHEV. The same goes for the Sportage and Sorento, which are both available as either a hybrid or PHEV. The Kia Carnival, too, is getting a hybrid version this summer.

Those are popular cars. What Kia lacks are hybrid sedans, at least in the United States, and a big hybrid Kia Telluride. That might be changing.

Kia did its big annual investor day conference and Kia President/CEO Ho Sung Song let everyone know that more hybrids are coming.

To respond agilely to changes in the market environment, Kia will secure maximum flexibility in its line-up operation. Kia plans to strengthen its hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) line-up from six models in 2024 to nine models by 2028, with HEV powertrain options offered for most of the brand’s major models.

Cool Cool Cool. Kia does not say in its presentation which vehicles those might be, but I have some guesses. In the United States, the fact that Toyota is going all hybrid with the Camry and Honda is having success as well with hybrid sedans makes me think a K4 hybrid makes sense and that Kia will bring its K5 hybrid to the United States. Excusing future models, in the United States that only leaves the Soul and Telluride.

I’m not sure there’s going to be a next-generation Soul, though that might make sense. I think Telluride is the most likely next SUV candidate and there’s an interview with Kia VP of Marketing Russell Wager from the Chicago Auto Show with Alissa Priddle from MotorTrend that hints at the possibility:

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There are no plans to add a Telluride hybrid at this time, Wager says. It is doable, but not seen as necessary given the addition of the EV9. Kia will monitor how well the EV9 does; it would be a factor in deciding to add a hybrid option on the Telluride in the future.

It seems like a good time now, although the EV9 is seemingly doing well.

That isn’t to say the company is halting EV plans:

In response to EV market changes, Kia will launch six EV models by 2026, starting with the upcoming EV3 in 2024, followed by EV2, EV4, and EV5 in major markets, including the U.S., Europe, and South Korea. In emerging markets, the company will deploy two region-specified EVs, such as Carens EV for the Indian market.

I can’t wait to see a Kia EV2.

Tesla Cuts More Than 10% Of Its Global Workforce

Tesla Investor Day Gigafactorytexas 02
Photo: Tesla

The news of Tesla’s potentially failing Cybertruck accelerator pedal isn’t going to help perceptions of the vehicle, but it’s probably not as big of a deal as, say, a crippling price war in China or EV demand that’s starting to stall out a little.

Therefore, Tesla is reportedly cutting at least 10% of its global staff to try and save money according to reporting from Reuters.

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Some staff in California and Texas have already been notified of layoffs, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject.

“As we prepare the company for our next phase of growth, it is extremely important to look at every aspect of the company for cost reductions and increasing productivity,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in the memo.
“As part of this effort, we have done a thorough review of the organization and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10% globally,” it said.

For those expecting demand for EVs to suddenly roar back, this isn’t a great sign. In other news, popular and well-liked Tesla exec Drew Baglino resigned from the company, saying:

Good use of an emoji in a resignation tweet.

Stellantis Puts Hard Squeeze On Suppliers, Suppliers Squeeze Back

Devil Lovitz Tavares

Our Boy/Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares (pictured, center) is back at it. In spite of pulling in record profits, Stellantis has been trying to squeeze as much out of its suppliers. According to Automotive News, it’s getting narsty:

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At least two Tier 1 suppliers have stopped shipping parts to the automaker in the past few weeks because of pricing disputes, according to lawsuits in Oakland County Circuit Court filed by FCA, the former name of Stellantis, whose North American headquarters is near Detroit in Auburn Hills, Mich.

That’s not good.

At the same time, many suppliers are still looking to be made whole by automakers after three years of production and supply chain volatility ate away profit margins that haven’t fully recovered. While automakers brought in record profits, parts makers bore the brunt of financial impact from the supply chain crisis.

At Stellantis, the conversation has turned from cost relief to cost savings as “the automotive industry continues to face challenges that put its long-term sustainability at risk.”

In one of the lawsuits, a judge basically made a supplier keep shipping parts to Stellantis. In another lawsuit, a judge said it was ok for a supplier to slow down shipments until Stellantis paid the money it agreed to give the supplier for cost adjustments.

The resulting delays have cost Stellantis millions of dollars, according to Stellantis, and basically make the company look like a bad partner.

Ford And Cadillac Under Investigation By The Feds

Preproduction Bronco Sport Free Wheeling With Optional Equipment Shown

Ford has a gas leak issue related to cracked fuel injectors in certain Escapes and Bronco Sports with the 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. If something fails it could result in a fire. Ford issued a recall and has been trying to add a little tube to send fuel away from hot surfaces and revise some software to try and avoid its cars catching on fire.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration isn’t buying it.

Per the AP:

But the U.S. said Friday that Ford’s fix lets fuel drain from a cylinder head hole to the ground below the vehicles. “The recall remedy does not include replacement of the cracked fuel injector,” the agency said.

That’s a real MacGruber solution.

NHTSA is also investigating GM over brake system failures with the Cadillac Lyriq:

General Motors said the electronic brake control module has an internal spindle that can fracture during an anti-lock braking system event, according to a NHTSA preliminary evaluation report.

So maybe don’t autocross the Lyriq just yet.

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What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD

I had to use dad voice to get my daughter out of the house this morning and she was grumpy with me. I knew playing this song would make her feel better and I was correct.

The Big Question

Name some vehicles, from any automaker, that shouldn’t be a hybrid.

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Dan Bee
Dan Bee
2 months ago

Regarding the uptick in hybrid announcements, it would be very useful if the automotive journalists would ask some clarifying questions of the OEMs: regular hybrids or plug-in hybrids (or both). And if both, what’s the split.

We currently drive a regular AWD hybrid Toyota station wagon that’s miserable to drive around town (but gets good mileage) and are desperately awaiting the arrival of a PHEV SUV… by any OEM, basically the performance of a Chevy Volt in the body of a Jeep Grand Cherokee L (or similar).

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
2 months ago

Why does it seem like Kia is so much more agile than the other brands? Hybrids are cool? Lets build more tomorrow. Of course it helps they already had some hybrids and PHEVs in the lineup, even if no one knew they were there. But more to come on top of that apparently.

Honda with a hybrid Pilot or Odyssey that could compete with Toyota and people would love? Crickets.

Ford with a good hybrid Explorer that doesn’t get 22 mpg instead of 21? Can’t make that happen apparently.

Does GM have any hybrids in the lineup? I can’t think of one. Even Chrysler has a PHEV. Chrysler!

Meanwhile the tumbleweeds continue to blow through the Toyota lot where the hybrid Highlander, Grand Highlander, and Siennas are supposed to be parked.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago

Ford’s fix lets fuel drain from a cylinder head hole to the ground below the vehicles. “

It’s shit like that as well as people removing emissions equipment on their vehicles that makes me that much more in favour of forcing everyone to switch to BEVs eventually.

Name some vehicles, from any automaker, that shouldn’t be a hybrid.”

No Tesla should be a hybrid. Their platforms/tech isn’t set up for it.

Also the Hyundai Ioniq 5/6, Kia EV6 and their other modern BEVs shouldn’t have hybrid versions.

And the Ford Mach E or the F150 Lightning should not have hybrid versions.

And the Porsche Taycan should stay all-electric.

Same for the GM products that are on the Ultium/BEV3 platform
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_BEV3_platform

And any other vehicle that is on a dedicated BEV platform and is marketed as a full on BEV.

Basically my view is ALL legacy ICE vehicles that should have hybrid tech applied as a way of extending their life until the given automaker can get their BEVs ramped up and the cost of building their BEVs down.

Cerberus
Cerberus
2 months ago

How in the f is Ford allowed to “solve” that injector problem through gross HC emissions?!

Space
Space
2 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

It doesn’t look like they will. He said the feds aren’t buying it.

Tom T
Tom T
2 months ago

Makes me wonder why Ford made a plug in Explorer but didn’t sell it in North America. Possibly they will now that the landscape has changed? Mitsubishi Outlander, Rav4, and Grand Cherokee plug ins are options but kinda meh in styling IMO.

Needles Balloon
Needles Balloon
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom T

They sold it for a little while in the Lincoln Aviator, but they discontinued it I believe. It’s likely due to the high price leading to low sales, and better uses of the battery supply being available (Mach-E production during the chip shortage era, Maverick Hybrid production even now).

Ben
Ben
2 months ago

What is it with Ford and half-assed recall fixes? I’m pretty sure they’re the same ones that “solved” an oil leak by punching holes in the aero shield so the oil could drain out instead of catching on fire. Like, okay, it’s better to have no fire than to have fire (in your engine bay, at least), but you didn’t remotely fix the problem.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Ben

They solved an automatic transmission shifter issue by mailing stickers out to every owner to put on the dashboard.

Why some non-fleet owners bothered to actually do so is a mystery

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