Supply is tight and demand is through the roof, but Kia Australia says it will push back hard on any dealer that tries to cash in with sky-high prices.
The brand is one of the hardest hit by industry-wide supply shortages in Australia, with buyers facing wait times of up to nine months on the strong-selling GT-Line version of its seven-seat Sorento SUV.
It’s also battling severely restricted supply of the electric EV6, with just 500 cars confirmed for Australia in 2022 – despite holding 1500 firm orders, and a record number of expressions of interest.
Although he conceded dealers are free to up the price on in-demand cars, Kia Australia chief operating Damien Meredith said the dealer network is “fair and reasonable”.
“I think it would be totally unfair if there was gouging in regards to any product,” Mr Meredith said, telling media he’d be “disappointed” to hear of dealers trying to cash in on the supply-constrained market.
Mr Meredith said Kia Australia has previously spoken to dealers about price markups, on the back of reports from customers of perceived price gouging.
Unlike its Korean counterparts at Hyundai, which sells the Ioniq 5 direct-to-consumers rather than through dealers, the Kia Australia team ruled out selling supply-limited models using an agency model.
“There is a lot of talk, and a lot of action, in regards to different models for how manufacturers distribute their vehicles,” Mr Meredith said.
“Whilst there is always discussion and always talk about what the most efficient, best way is, right now we believe the best way to do it is through our dealer network,” he said.
Once the cars are with customers, however, there’s nothing Kia can do to prevent opportunistic owners trying to flip their vehicles for a profit.
Currently, more than 80 per cent of the Kia network is trained and equipped to sell electric cars. With some of the COVID-related hurdles holding the process back now out of the way, the brand expects that figure to keep growing.