Refreshing: A Kia Dealer Goes The Extra Mile For A Soul EV Buyer

MAR 30 2015 BY JAY COLE 29

Last week we reported on a Kia dealer who was more than a little negative towards the Soul EV, saying that it was “good neither for your pocketbook, nor the environment”, while noting that this particular dealer was also not one of the ‘chosen’ Soul EV approved sellers.

One community member chalked this attitude up to classic dealer “SWAT” mentality – or “sell what’s available today”, while others said this proved the classic dealer model was broken as old traditions of viewing the customer as a “mark” were just too hard to break.

To offer the other side of the coin, this is Kumar P’s story of leasing a Soul EV this past January.  And yes, while his dealer is able to sell the Soul EV, they also still represented the best interests of their customer as well.

I got my electric Soul from Jim Bone Kia in Santa Rosa, CA. You may be aware that Kia is a major advertising partner of the National Basketball Association. As a signing bonus, along with an apology for the leasing process taking a number of hours, I was given 3 pairs of tickets to Golden State Warriors games. Considering that every game this year has been a sellout, that was pretty awesome in itself. Here’s my mother-in-law at the game I took her to:

Mother-in-Law Meets The Golden State Warriors

Mother-in-Law Meets The Golden State Warriors

The lease was signed on a Tuesday, but a couple days later, I got a call from the dealership’s finance department saying they had looked at the numbers again and could get me a lower monthly payment. I live in Ukiah, which is 60 miles from the dealership. Their finance guy, as it happens, lives a few blocks from me. He offered to bring the new paperwork to Ukiah to be signed that Saturday. I ended up saving $30/month with the new lease.

Kia Soul EV - Capable of Accepting (Up To) 100 kW Quick Charges

Kia Soul EV – Capable of Accepting (Up To) 100 kW Quick Charges

In the time since, I’ve charged at the dealership’s DC quick charger for free at least a dozen times, in addition to using numerous other DCQCs for free as part of the complimentary Kia Chargeup card program (seemingly identical to Nissan’s program). I can charge for free for 2 years, which is 2/3 of my lease. The monetary savings with this program are huge.

Every time I charge at the dealership, someone there will chat me up about the car, and they are always very interested and focused on my experience. On one trip several weeks ago, I noticed that they had replaced the Kia Optima sedan in the showroom with a Soul EV. It’s been there ever since.

This dealership also gave me several months complimentary use of their car wash, which is helpful because my black car attracts a ton of dirt.

My Kia Soul EV sales experience was impeccable, but there was one aspect of it that got derailed a little bit. The 240V charger that was included in my lease didn’t show up for a couple months. They finally tracked down the issue and got it to me. Then, a few days later, I got a $50 prepaid visa card with my name on it in the mail as a gift from Kia- an apology for that wrinkle.

I have never had this resoundingly positive of an experience with a car dealership before. Indeed, I once had a very negative experience echoing the Kia anti-salesman story when I tried to lease an early model Toyota Prius. It certainly appears that Kia is trying very hard to duplicate my positive experience at other dealerships. If they can come close, then I expect their expanded rollout to be a very successful endeavor.

So maybe we shouldn’t throw away all the dealers of plug-in cars just yet.

Out thanks to Kumar P for sharing his story with us.

Categories: Kia


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29 Comments on "Refreshing: A Kia Dealer Goes The Extra Mile For A Soul EV Buyer"

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It would be interesting to hear why Bosch, assuming they are the ‘concierge’ responsible for the home installations, dropped the ball for ‘months’ this time.

Corporate installations take priority.

Kumar P, please consider putting your Soul EV in whatever National Drive Electric Week ( events are near you, even if for only a day. And don’t be shy about telling the public about your experience, or send folks to your dealer by name. I’ve been in many public EV events, and enthusiastic EV-driving “regular folks” are worth their weight in gold.

Thank you for the suggestion! I will check out that website. I’ve definitely been a talker with regards to the vehicle and my experience. I would love it if I can send that dealer new EV business.


I just leased a black Soul EV plus this week and there was no free chargeup time included or free 240v home charging station. Did i miss out? Do i need to deal directly with KIA about this? I am in Atlanta GA, maybe that makes a difference. Please let me know


great story!

The previous article re Kia Dealer being negative towards EV Soul should have an editors comment that the emails were put out by a Kia ICE vehicle dealer, not by a dealer selling the EV Soul. They were trying to steer a prospective EV buyer towards an ICE to make a sale. This makes a huge difference to the spin of the article – many readers would miss this not reading the emails closely. Lot of Canadian bashing as a result. I would have posted this on that article but came upon it late and theres already a deluge of comments on the previous article.

This sounds like corporate damage control to me. Kia probably promised all sorts of concessions to any dealer willing to do something like this and then publicise it.

I guess you missed the part in the story above where it said this happened a couple of months ago in January. Whereas, the news story about the Kia dealer who sent EV-bashing emails came out just last week.

Yeah, the only part of all this that happened after the Canadian dealer story came out is the 240V charger/Visa gift card part.

My local BMW dealer should take lessons from Kia. They thoughtfully wanted to add $80 to “fill the gas tank” on a i3 BEV I had on order. Can’t wait to check out the Soul EV.

Wow, even if you had the REx – at $40/gallon, that must be about the most expensive gas on the planet!

LOL! I wonder if that is just the standard price they charge for filling any tank and didn’t realize that the i3 has a tiny tank.

Well… it’s a BEV so there is no tank… so it’s an $80 charge for literally nothing

There must be something about the dealership model which encourages dishonest behavior by sales people (and even service people), because it’s such a common occurrence. I don’t think it’s that dealerships somehow have the power to be a magnet for those who plan, even before they are hired, to be dishonest and treat their customers as marks.

So it’s great to see a story like this one; a story about a dealer who bucks the trend and actually looks out for his customers and their needs. I’m sure that dealer isn’t the only one, but sadly it does seem the honest ones are the minority.

The current dealership model is that the particular dealer has millions of dollars of inventory just sitting there costing them money day in and day out. There is a lot of pressure to offload said inventory within a finite amount of time. This elicits the mantra: “Whatever it takes!”. Oft times that includes slick tactics honed over decades designed to move that metal by implementing psychology, twisted ethics and justifications.

It’s pretty simple. There’s the MSRP, and there’s “what the market will bear”.

If a customer walks unprepared into a dealership and can be talked into paying a few extra thousand dollars more for the purchase, dealers call that legitimate markup and capitalism at work. It’s not a great long term strategy when a competitor (TrueCar) offers another price discovery mechanism or flat rate pricing (Tesla) but it’s great (for the dealer) while it lasts.

The handwriting is on the wall on how this will all end. There are no secrets on the Internet.

There is, it’s a lovely Jedi mind trick that they even use on advertisements…

“If we don’t have it, you don’t want it.”

I’ve seen that line on adds since the early ’70’s, and they’ve probably been using it even longer.

Simply put, if they don’t have it, they’ll convince you that you don’t want it. Not exactly bait and switch, but mind games none the less.

I am by no stretch of the imagination a fan of the dealership model. Like many others here, I’ve been abused by dealers many times over the years on vehicle sales and service. (The most recent example involved one Honda dealer telling me emphatically that work I was charged for by another Honda dealer had not been done, and then completely changing their tune when I confronted the other dealership, leaving me to wonder who had lied to and/or cheated me.)

But I think that makes it all the more important to spread the word about good dealers, if only to help steer customers to them and away from the evil ones.

This is a nice balance to the previous Kia Article where the dealer badmouths the Soul EV.

This contrast in dealerships seems logical knowing one dealer was in Canada – the modern bastion of oil, and the latter is located in ZEV credits/HOV lane haven, California, USA.

What a difference a location makes! Also, there are dealerships with varied priorities based upon the needs of it’s local populace. I wouldn’t count on this wonderful customer service from a KIA dealer located in the Midwest, for example.

From what I understand, there is a system they are implementing that includes DCQC’s at all dealerships and comprehensive surveys to EV customers. For all I know the basketball tickets thing could be implemented elsewhere as well, they really are a huge sponsor.

As to the DCQC’s – Canada might not be on board with that, as well, based on the challenging discussion I had with Service Manager at Plaza Kia or Richmond Hill (Soul EV Dealer with 1 on the ramp on Saturday!), and – he said he was not interested in listing his Charging Station on PlugShare, and “going against Kia Canada’s Rules” – Go Figure! Especially – since Toronto Kia – Another Soul EV Dealer – IS Listed on PlugShare! I just think they (Richmond Hill) have an awkward Charger location – that cars can hit their inventory, block shop doors, plug in and then leave, causing the dealer’s service department lots of issues! Of course – they put it behind a Fence – because they had/have concerns of ‘Liability issues!’ They have not interest (Service) in supporting the charging of any EV After Hours (When Service is Closed – Even if Sales is open!) Lots of work to do yet in this issue! Service Manager says he was told it takes $100,000 to install a DCQC! So they basically Freaked on that, and from my chat’s with Kia Canada – The choice of Level 2 or Level 3… Read more »

LOVE the caption on the photo above …

“Kia Soul EV – Capable of Accepting (Up To) 100 kW Quick Charges”

Yes, 100 kW DC QC approved … now that’s the way to go the distance. 8~)

Got my Soul EV+ from Concord Kia. They were fantastic and helped me ship the car to Maui! Chris the sales manager is a great guy who was always friendly. I didn’t get warrior tickets but they do give you ice cream!

I would take the ice cream over tickets!!

3 pairs of tickets to Golden State, that’s a very nice perk. I’m a Blazers fan, and unfortunately we’ve been crippled by injuries this year. I have to admin, Golden State is very impressive right now. Have fun.

The game against the Hawks was fantastic- that’s the one I went to with my mother-in-law. Also saw them play the Bucks. It is certainly a dream season. Your Blazers are pretty great too- Lamarcus Aldridge is pretty amazing.

I spoke to my Kia sales guy again today and he was thrilled to find out about this article. Then I realized I hadn’t given him a shout-out. Steven Hawkes, at Jim Bone Kia in Santa Rosa. He’s a good guy who did a good job leasing me this awesome car!