Car dealers can make or break the success of a newly introduced model, and when it comes to the Kia EV9, the South Korean manufacturer had to strike a balancing act to make sure it would sell well.

Kia has long been seen as a budget brand that makes cheap cars, but in recent years it went upmarket. And with the introduction of the all-electric EV9, it wants to go even higher on the fancy ladder, next to names like Audi and BMW. It's a compelling combination of range, style and three-row SUV practicality.

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Spending $70,000 on a new car can be a major stretch for some people's budget, but that hasn't stopped a handful of dealers from adding up to 10% on top of the MSRP of the new Kia EV9 SUV through fees that are sometimes hidden in the fine print. That's despite the fact that Kia specifically asked dealers to avoid adding markups to the EV9 last year.

That said, even Kia knows it can’t sell its flagship electric three-row SUV for more money than its advertised price, which is why it kindly asked its dealers last year to stick to the MSRP and not add any markups.

But did the dealers listen? Most of them did, but some disregarded Kia’s pretty please and slapped up to $7,000 on top of the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price in so-called “marked adjustments” or other bogus dealer talk, according to a report from Cars Direct.

In another instance found by Cars Direct, one dealer in California apparently applied a markup of only $1,245 on the stated MSRP of $76,925 of a Kia EV9 GT-Line. At closer inspection, though, that particular dealer is actually charging $4,995 over the manufacturer’s selling price because Kia offers something called Kia Customer Cash—a $3,750 rebate offered to all buyers.

In the United States, the EV9 has a starting MSRP of $54,900 excluding destination and taxes, while a top-of-the-line model goes for over $70,000. In other words, it’s not exactly what we’d call affordable, but it’s still less expensive than a Tesla Model X with seven seats, which goes for $83,490. 

Gallery: 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line in US specification

However, at Tesla, what you see is what you get (because Tesla has a direct sales approach), whereas if we were to add the $7,000 markup on top of the MSRP of the Kia EV9 GT-Line, we’d see the price go up to $83,315, which is 10% more than what’s advertised.

A Kia spokesperson told DriveTeslaCanada that most dealers in America are sticking to the script and are following the manufacturer’s recommendation to refrain from imposing markups over MSRP.

This is good news, but you still have to be careful out there and make sure you read the fine print if you’re looking for a new EV9.

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