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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
June 24, 2024

Automobiles

Kia to return to Paris Motor Show after 6-year hiatus

  • PUBLISHED :May 20, 2024 - 16:39
  • UPDATED :May 20, 2024 - 16:39
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A teaser image shows what is likely Kia's electric vehicle lineup for the 2024 Paris Motor Show, featuring silhouettes of five models with distinctive LED lighting accents. The label "J-150" indicates there are 150 days left until the event, but at the time of this article's publication, 147 days remain. (Kia France)

Kia will make a comeback at the Paris Motor Show this October after a six-year hiatus, seeking a bigger footing in Europe's competitive electric vehicle market.

Kia France published a LinkedIn post on Sunday revealing that Kia will attend the 2024 Paris Motor Show, starting on Oct. 14 at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles.

“Let's celebrate Kia's big return to the Paris Motor Show this fall. Novelty, innovation, and mobility will be the key themes of this event. Kia will showcase its latest exclusives and share its future ambitions,” the post stated in French.

Hyundai Motor is also reportedly considering joining the event. A Hyundai Motor Group official said that Hyundai Motor's participation at the Paris Motor Show remains unconfirmed at this time.

Kia's booth will emphasize what the company calls "future mobility" technologies, particularly electric vehicles. Highlighting that this will most likely be the overseas debut of the EV3, a mass-market electric vehicle set to premiere in Korea this Thursday. The EV4 and EV5 models, aimed at future European markets, will also be showcased.

The Paris Motor Show, established in 1898, is one of the world’s top five auto shows, alongside those in Frankfurt, Detroit, Geneva, and Tokyo. Until 2018, Hyundai and Kia had a consistent presence at the biannual show since Hyundai’s entry into the French market in 1992. However, the 2020 show was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and both brands were absent in 2022.

Industry experts interpret Kia's return to the Paris Motor Show as a deliberate effort to boost its presence in the European electric vehicle market. Traditional auto shows have seen a slight decline in influence, prompting Hyundai and Kia to previously prioritize events that emphasize technological innovations such as the Consumer Electronics Show. Their absence from last year's International Motor Show Germany in Munich was in line with this trend, yet their reappearance in Paris signals renewed focus.

"Europe is a major battleground for electric vehicles, much like the US, with tough competition among many brands. Kia's decision to join the Paris Motor Show this year, after skipping the German show last year, shows they're serious about boosting their presence against rising Chinese competition and strong local players," an industry insider noted.

Europe accounts for about half of the global EV market outside of China. Dominant players include Tesla, Volkswagen, Stellantis, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Chinese manufacturers, particularly BYD, have also been making significant inroads. The expected 100 percent US tariff on Chinese EVs will likely drive more Chinese brands into the European market.

While Hyundai-Kia has generally performed well in global EV sales, they have recently seen a slight slowdown in Europe. In the first quarter of this year, Kia reported 44,000 global EV sales, a 7.9 percent increase from the previous year. However, the share of these sales in Western Europe dropped from 44.1 percent to 41.7 percent. Similarly, Hyundai's share of European EV sales fell by 5.2 percentage points to 10.7 percent, primarily due to declining sales of flagship models like the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

By Moon Joon-hyun (mjh@heraldcorp.com)

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