In just its first year on sale, the electric Kia EV9 three-row SUV appears to be a major market success. According to The Korea Economic Dailythe model may soon reach 50,000 sales globally, if it hasn't already. 

The Kia EV9 entered limited production in early 2023, but volume production and sales did not start in earnest until June 2023. Kia's data shows that cumulative wholesale shipments of the EV9, which are closely related to production, through the end of 2024 amounted to 48,254 units. By the end of May, we can assume that the cumulative result exceeded 50,000.

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The Kia EV9 is a hit

The Kia EV9 combines space, attractive design, relatively good range and outstanding DC fast charging capabilities. The model happens to be one of the most popular all-electric three-row SUVs, as well as one of the only ones on the market currently. 

Hitting about 50,000 units within 12 months of volume production is not a trivial thing for a large electric SUV. The Korean-built EV9 is particularly strong in the U.S., where large vehicles are extremely popular and three-row ones are especially coveted by families. Indeed, the EV9 had its best sales month ever in the U.S. in May with 2,187 units sold.

Indeed, the data shows that most of the production was for exports—over 39,000, or 81% through the end of April. Nonetheless, roughly 9,000 sales happened in South Korea, which is also impressive.

Kia EV9
2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line in US specification interior dashboard overview

The Korea Economic Daily adds that the U.S. accounted for 46% of Kia EV9 exports. As we understand, the second largest market is Europe.

None of the Kia EV9 models sold to date qualified for the $7,500 electric tax credit when purchased because they were not built in North America. Many buyers chose to lease the SUV instead, which would qualify it for that credit.

However, that situation is changing right now. Starting on May 30, the Kia EV9 entered production also in the U.S., which opened the way to qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit by 2025.

It will be very interesting to see how local U.S. production will affect Kia's EV production in Korea. Depending on the demand, Kia might allocate more EV9s to other markets or unlock some manufacturing capacity for other E-GMP-based models.

During the first four months of 2024, Kia increased its global retail EV sales to over 61,000, including over 44,000 E-GMP-based EVs. The Kia's most popular EV is the EV6, which soon will reach a cumulative level of 250,000 since going on sale in mid-2021. But given the EV9's immense popularity, it could eclipse its little brother at some point. 

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