Ever since Kia showed the EV9 electric three-row SUV concept vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, U.S. Kia dealers have been keen for the automaker to build and sell a production version of it.
"We're most excited about the EV9. That's a seven-passenger EV," said James Morrell, chairman of the Kia Dealer Advisory Council. "It's the same size, a little bit bigger, than the Telluride."
Kia America had record U.S. sales of 701,416 vehicles in 2021, an increase of 20 percent over 2020, and beating its previous record from 2016.
The brand already offers battery-electric versions of the subcompact Kia Niro and Soul. Kia also added its first vehicle on a platform exclusively dedicated to EVs, the EV6 compact crossover, with U.S. deliveries starting last month.
But Morrell, 48, co-owner of Destination Kia in Albany, N.Y. said the larger EV9 has "high potential in the EV space."
Morrell said that in the future, not having an EV in every product segment would mean having a hole in the lineup.
"That's something that's not missing now, but it's going to be missing," he said of the EV9. "We are very much looking forward to Kia's entry."