The new Kia Soul EV went on sale in October in California, with plans to expand to Oregon and a few East Coast markets later. Stronger-than-expected customer interest soon inspired the company to accelerate its roll-out plan. However, in the complex world of automobile manufacturing, production can’t be dialed up and down at will.
“The issue is actually getting enough cars,” EV Product Manager Steve Kosowski told Charged. “As soon as we can get the supply, we’re going to start selling the car outside of California. What we don’t want to do is starve our California dealers after they’ve already invested in chargers and tools and training. The Soul EV is the first electric car we’ve sold outside of Korea. So, we want to make sure that the quality is there, that the suppliers and the distributors and the dealers and everybody in the whole chain is ready and there are no problems.”
Orth Hedrick, VP of Product Planning, later told AutoblogGreen that Kia was “kind of shocked at how well the Soul EV was received,” and conceded that it would be a challenge to ramp up production. The company hopes to announce a plan by April that will include wider availability than originally planned.
Sources: Kia, AutoblogGreen