In a surprising announcement, Kia says it is developing two new electric pickup trucks. But as you’ll see, this has been long in the works. In all, it plans on debuting 14 new EVs by 2027 at a rate of two per year. It has recently released its EV6 crossover, while sales of the Niro EV have picked up. The Niro has seen a 132 percent increase last month alone.
What is the difference between the two new Kia pickups?
One of the new pickups will be built around Kia’s E-GMP all-electric platform. Kia says the other pickup will be a “strategic model” aimed at markets in countries like India, Africa, and Mexico. This second pickup is thought to be a body-on-frame midsize truck. It is being developed for various gas-engine applications and all-electric according to Automotive News.
As with so many other manufacturers, Kia is doubling down on electric vehicle development. The next EV being readied for production is the Kia EV9. We got to see a concept version of it at the 2021 LA Auto Show. It will be a three-row crossover similar to the Telluride in size. The EV9 is targeting a 300-mile range with the charging ability to get 80 percent charge in a half-hour.
Does Kia make a pickup truck?
Kia has produced a pickup truck called the Bongo, but it isn’t sold in the US. It is a cab-over configuration and is available as a pickup or chassis-cab for rollbacks, flatbeds, and other work truck applications. The Bongo is available as a single cab, extended cab, or double cab configuration. It was first introduced in 1980.
This isn’t Kia’s first stab at making a pickup truck. In the early 2000s, Kia began developing a truck to fill in some of the “gaps” in its product portfolio. The new truck would use the Sorento SUV architecture as the basis for the truck. The Sorento was a V6-powered with ladder frame construction.
At the 2004 Chicago Auto Show, the KCV-4 Mojave concept truck debuted. To accommodate the bed, the Sorento frame was stretched. It was also using the Sorento all-wheel-drive, which was standard on all models.
What size was the Kia Mojave?
One of its nicest features was the rear portion of the cab could be slid forward for another few inches of cargo space. Sizewise, it fell somewhere near a Ford Ranger; which in 2004 might have been considered small. Of course today, that has proven to be a popular size. And don’t forget, this would not have been a unibody truck like the Santa Cruz or Ford Maverick.
“There was one major non-product obstacle that likely doomed the Kia Mojave pickup from the start,” a Kia product planner at the time told Pickup Truck News. “It had to be produced in a North American factory, and at the time, Kia did not have one.”
Kia has wanted a pickup in its lineup for a long time
The infamous “chicken tax” instituted in the 1960s dictates all commercial vehicles must be manufactured in the US. Today it has a plant in Georgia. But this shows that a pickup truck has always been on Kia’s radar.
Electrification development and other priorities have pushed pickup truck development back. But with this latest news, it is back on the table and ready to be manufactured soon. Should the other truck makers in this segment be worried?