Kia Motors has announced plans to expand its partnerships with worldwide mobility companies to meet the needs of a diverse range of consumers. Kia’s President and CEO Ho Sung Song shared the company’s plan for global mobility during his visit to the company’s Sohari plant in Korea to observe launch preparations for the new fourth-generation Kia Carnival.
“Kia is striving to offer customized products and differentiated mobility services based on its long history in automotive manufacturing,” said President Song. “Kia will further improve its collaboration with global partners to offer regionally customized mobility services as it implements its ‘Plan S’ strategy.”
In January, the automaker announced its long-term ‘Plan S’ strategy, which outlines the company’s strategies to diversify mobility services in strategic regions across the world.
In South Korea, Kia will enhance its regional ‘Kia Flex’ vehicle subscription program by expanding the fleet size to 200 vehicles. The vehicle line-up will include the new Carnival, which is nearing its South Korean market launch, and a new EV model to be included in the future.
In Europe, Kia will work together with global partners to provide customized mobility services for the region. In 2018, Kia established a car-sharing service called ‘WiBLE’ with Spanish energy company Repsol. WiBLE allows users to rent and return vehicles at designated locations with its ‘free-floating’ system. Right now it operates 500 Niro PHEVs and is one of the top car-sharing providers in Spain. Building on the platform, Kia prepares to provide multi-modal mobility services* in the future.
Kia will also release a dealer mobility service in Italy and Russia by 2020. This is a new service that allows dealers to rent out their vehicles for any period, from a single day up to a complete year. Kia will expand the service gradually across the world in the future.
In North America, Kia will speed up its electrification efforts and further improve its cooperation with its mobility partners. The company offered 200 Niro EVs to the car-hailing company Lyft last year, and this year provided 44 Niro HEVs to MoceanLab, Hyundai Motor’s mobility service company.
MoceanLab was formed last year for offering mobility services in the City of Los Angeles and prepares to expand its services to consist of autonomous ridesharing, shuttling, multi-modal transportation, and personal mobility. MoceanLab runs a free-floating system with its 100-vehicle fleet, which includes the new Niro HEV units. Kia prepares to develop new products tailored to enhance mobility services based on data from MoceanLab’s service vehicles.
In developing markets, Kia is also preparing for modifications in the mobility service domain. Kia has partnered with companies such as Ola, India’s largest ride-hailing company; Revv, an Indian car-sharing company; and Grab, Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing company. These partnerships will allow Kia to better understand the mobility requirements of its customers in the development of future vehicles.