[Photo provided by Kia Motors Corp.]
South Korea’s Kia Motors Corp. beefed up subscription-based car lease service at home and expanded partnership with overseas mobility operators to enhance its future mobility portfolio.
Song Ho-sung, chief executive and president of Kia Motors, visited the automaker’s Sohari plant in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province, on Thursday to check on the four-gen fleet of Carnival mini-van due in the market as the front-runner in mobility service.
“We should do our best to provide differentiated mobility service and customized vehicles that satisfy various needs of global customers based on Kia Motors’ long production experience and tradition,” Song said.
The country’s second-largest automaker and sister of top Hyundai Motor Co. in January unveiled Plan S, a mid- to long-term future strategy that calls for a shift to its future business of electric vehicles and mobility solution. Kia Motors said it plans to diversify mobility service business not only in Korea but also in major global cities.
At home, it is bolstering Kia Flex, a monthly vehicle subscription mobility service launched last year. Kia Flex is a non-face-to-face service that allows consumers to search and rent vehicles and make payment and return vehicles via smartphone application. Vehicles are rented out on a monthly basis and subscription fees include insurance, taxes, and maintenance costs.
Kia Motors said that it will add new cars including the fourth-generation Carnival to Kia Flex line-up and expand total number of cars from 135 to 200 units. The automaker also plans to add its electric vehicle lint-up to Kia Flex.
More services such as of parking and car wash will be added to subscription.
Ever since the service was launched in June, last year, more than 2,300 consumers have signed in to the mobile application and 320 have actually used the service.
In Europe, Kia Motors will expand optimized mobility service by enhancing partnership with global mobility firms.
Kia Motors plans to provide various mobility service in multi-modal form based on Wible platform, a car sharing service set up jointly with Spain’s largest energy company Repsol in 2018. Multi-modal form is a mobility service that optimizes moving convenience of users by integrating various transportation methods such as public transportation and car-sharing.
Wible is a mobility service business in the form of free-floating method that allows consumers to freely rent and return cars in certain zone. The service has landed as Spain’s leading car-sharing platform with 170,000 members, 3,000 daily usage, and 300,000 downloads.
In Italy and Russia, Kia Motors plans to launch dealer-led mobility service, which allows consumers to rent cars managed by dealers to up to one year and can later purchase them. In North America, Kia Motors will enhance partnership with major mobility service providers and boost electric vehicle business.
Last year, Kia Motors supplied 200 Niro EVs to U.S. car hailing firm Lyft and 44 Niro hybrid cars to Mocean Lab, a mobility service firm under Hyundai Motor Group.
Kia Motors is also planning to enhance its mobility business in emerging countries by providing optimized vehicles and service packages.
By Park Yun-gu and Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]