Kia Motors America expects to increase the number of “green” vehicles with alternative powertrains that it offers in North America from four models to 11 models by 2020.
Michael Sprague, KMA chief operating officer, said the line-up of 11 new green vehicles will include hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles.
Kia’s newest green vehicle, the hybrid 2018 Kia Niro, which is starring in a spot on the upcoming telecast of the Super Bowl this month even as the company builds up the inventories of the new vehicle.
The Niro was designed as a global vehicle around architecture engineered from the ground up with an alternative powertrain and is part of Kia’s strategy to boost fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions, according to Kia officials. It was designed as a stylish compact, crossover vehicle that will appeal to consumers in North America, Europe and China.
Sprague, KMA chief operating officer, noted the regulations in not only the U.S. but in China and Europe where the controls on carbon dioxide emissions are becoming much tougher are pushing manufacturers to adopt alternative power trains. “The market may not be clear but it’s the way of the world,” he said.
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A new report by analysts from BMI, a unit of Fitch Group, said that the investment in the auto industry is now shifting towards alternative vehicles.
The trends include added interest in electric vehicle production across Europe and North America, the BMI report noted.
“Asian investment into EV and related component production has been a key feature but in Q416 EV-related investment has increased more in the two European regions and in North America. EV investments across (Eastern) Europe and Western Europe have complemented each other,” BMI said.
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During the fourth quarter of 2016, LG Chem, which is supplying batteries for the new Niro, added to the rising EV battery capacity in emerging Europe that began with Samsung SDI’s battery investment in August 2016.
“Complementing this build-up of battery capacity, vehicle assemblers in Western Europe are beginning to outline their plans for assembling EVs in the region, particularly in Germany,” the report said.
“In 2016 the total value of new investments captured in our global investment round-up reached $69.1 billion, marking a 35.5% year-on-year decline compared to 2015,” the report added.
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At the same time, the total number of investment projects declined from 333 in 2015 to 263 in 2016 while the number of projects worth $1 billion or more fell from 33 in 2015 to just 16, BMI said.