Behind the badge: Kia’s new look and new approach

Of course, general manager James Grimes admits the priority will "always be to sell cars" - GWR Kia alone sells roughly 4,000 cars per year and growing - but he did say that the brand's growing popularity has enabled Norton Way, as well as other dealer groups, to reinvest in their staff. So is it working? Well, CEO Philpott reckons so, claiming, "Of the last 5,000 Kia EV6[1] customers, the majority of them have come straight out of a BMW, Mercedes[2], Tesla, Jaguar[3] or Land Rover[4] product."

Advertisement - Article continues below Furthermore, while you may expect this focus on the premium side of the market to limit Kia's opportunity, it's seemingly having the opposite effect; Kia recently recorded its best sales quarter ever, with more than 18,000 sales in the first three months of 2024 alone. The brand's electrified fleet now makes up nearly half (49 per cent) of its UK car sales, yet Kia still appears committed to the rest of its line-up, with the Picanto, for example, recently being facelifted to tie it in with the far more expensive EV9.

Other more affordable models, such as the Soul, are less lucky, with Philpott saying it's "unlikely to remain in the range for the long term" as more modern (and probably more expensive) EV-badged models arrive over the next couple of years to fill the gap. It appears, then, that the Kia we used to know may become almost unrecognisable. The dealer revamp is set to be complete by the end of the year, and this 'new and improved' Kia will continue to offer a number of products across a broad range of sectors, as well as aiming to offer a strong sense of value for money.

However, the brand's focus on long kit lists and even longer warranties has now been joined by a third pillar of premium desirability. This is something the maker considers to be a key factor in its battle to stand out amid the predicted cascade of affordable EV arrivals from China. What do you think of Kia's new approach?

Have your say in the comments...


  1. ^ Kia EV6 (
  2. ^ Mercedes (
  3. ^ Jaguar (
  4. ^ Land Rover (