Kia has been accused of pulling a shady move by stockpiling new Kias in a storage lot in Ontario and leaving Canadian customers out to dry – some have said they have waited months, even years, for their new Kia. The rationale? Kia doesn’t want to look too good.
It’s all part of Kia’s strategy to avoid looking “too successful” and losing its marketing budget, according to video footage attained by CBC. Kia Canada opted to stash its inventory of new cars in Ontario and wait out the new year, all in an effort to play the numbers game, according to the report.
In CBC’s report, a November 17 video shows Kia regional sales manager Vince Capicotto telling representatives from some 100 dealerships that Kia Canada had already hit its sales target of selling 84,000 vehicles for the year, so there was no point in going overboard: “Kia Canada wants to control wholesale and retail performance in 2023 to not show high overachievement.” Doing so, he said, might put their marketing budget at risk in 2024.
Therefore, the call was made to put a freeze on the inventory until 2024, with only a sprinkling of new cars being shipped to dealer lots until the end of 2023.
Obviously, Kia buyers are outraged, and dealers say that they, too, are scrambling to respond to customer calls, with some canceling their orders.
Kia customer Brian Olmstead told CBC that he had been waiting for his new Kia EV6 since 2022. “I’ve been waiting for a car for a year and a half and they’re holding them on a compound just to make the sales look lower? What the hell?… This is so disappointing. What they’re doing is wrong.”
Just how much this debacle will damage the brand’s reputation in Canada is yet to be determined. Kia hasn’t yet commented on the situation, saying that it can’t comment on “confidential internal business matters,” according to CBC. Still, Kia is known for having some of the longest wait times in the industry in Canada, Shari Prymak, a senior consultant with Car Help Canada, told CBC.
“There might be some valid reasoning behind [the plan] from Kia Canada’s perspective,” he said. “But ultimately it’s not right to make customers wait even longer when they’ve already been waiting for so long and dealing with quite a bit of frustration.”
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