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Kia Calls New EV SUV a 'Wake-Up Call to the Industry'

And it could force other automakers to follow suit.

If you’ve shopped around for a new vehicle lately, you know that prices are crazy. Recent analysis from Kelley Blue Book puts the average new vehicle price in the U.S. at around $48,000. That’s up only $199 from one year ago, but it’s considerably higher than the pre-pandemic  average of around $38,000.

Kia has apparently noticed this too and took current consumer costs into consideration when deciding the starting price for its upcoming 2024 Kia EV9, the automaker’s first three-row electric SUV. The EV9 will come standard with DC fast charging, leather interior, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated seats and space for up to seven passengers, starting at $54,900.

It’s a price that Kia thinks is low enough to force other automakers to follow suit.

Steven Center, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Kia America, said, “We knew we had to get the EV9 pricing right and we believe today’s announcement will be a wake-up call to the industry. A well-equipped three-row SUV EV doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive.”

It’s unclear exactly which automakers Kia’s wake-up call is directed toward. But the EV9 is priced close to or lower than what many vehicles in the same category from other manufacturers currently go for.

In terms of three-row SUV EVs, the EV9 beats the Vinfast VF9, the Rivian R1S and the Volvo EX90 on price, though not necessarily on specifications. In terms of three-row gas-powered SUVs, the EV9 starts at a lower point than the 2024 Ford Expedition and the 2024 Toyota Sequoia.

Kia recently announced that it saw its best-ever third-quarter vehicle sales. The company attributed that in part to its battery-electric vehicle sales, which it said were up 127% over the previous EV sales record set in September 2022.

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