In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Will they sell Kia’s midsize pickup in the United States?
- Even more questions about Chinese EVs.
The first question comes from a Hyundai/Kia fan about the possibility of selling Kia’s midsize pickup truck over here.
Q: (Via: AskNathan@TFL.com) Nathan, Kia’s midsize pickup truck has been seen testing.
You guys even did a story on Kia’s midsize pickup on tfltruck.com. It’s real and it looks like it could be a challenger for brands like Nissan and Honda. Not to mention Toyota, GM and Ford. I have owned two Kias that include my daily driver Kia Stinger and my brother has a Hyundai Santa Curz. It’s a lot like yours with the SEL package except it’s white.
I’m very happy with Hyundai and Kia products and I’d be willing to pay for a midsize pickup if its sold here. I live in Lubbock, Texas and having a pickup that can hold a little bit more than my brother’s Curz would be real handy.
What do you reckon?
A: Those photos look cool, no?
From what I know, the Kia Mojave (I think they may keep that name) is being built exclusively for the Australian market. Word is, it’s being built for every market, except fort the U.S. and Canada. That doesn’t mean it won’t come here, but pickup trucks built overseas have a major challenge on their hands. Namely, the “Chicken tax.”
The “Chicken Tax” is a 25 percent tariff on imported light-trucks that was first imposed in 1964, in response to tariffs levied by some European nations on US poultry products – hence the name. – Tax Policy Center
That’s a huge amount of extra dough to pay for any vehicle, much less an economically priced pickup truck. The only way around that is to either add seats to the bed (a’la the Subaru Brat) or build it here. I honestly don’t know if adding seats with seatbelts is still kosher for import.
As far as I know, the plants in Georgia (Kia) and Alabama (Hyundai) are running at full capacity. With that being said, there’s no reason why either plant can’t expand. in addition, parent company Hyundai has massive resources and may be able to either partner with a local automaker, or build a new plant.
In addition, there’s a good chance that the automaker(s) are looking to build a completely different pickup truck that’s either a hybrid, or all electric. Check out (this) article for more.
I would love to see more midsize pickups over here. It would force automakers to “up” their game. More selection would be great for the consumer, and it may bring prices down.
The next question comes from a reader who has more questions about Chinese EVs.
Image: Baojun Yep
Q: (Via: AskNathan@tfl.com) I agree with you that Chinese cars are eventually coming here.
I read your article about their cars and I thought you put together a thoughtful and logical commentary. But I don’t know if they will be viable in this market. Never mind the bias against Chinese goods, the extra tax is going to kill their products before these even sell. I work in New Zealand, I’ve some Chinese products and they’re not that bad. I just doubt the people in America will accept them.
A: Thanks for the comment.
As I said in the previous article, Chinese cars, or cars that contain Chinese components are already here. I think that, in time, we could surpass their capacity and build more locally. Right now, many of their components are (by comparison) less expensive. They have a huge lead on battery production, and they aren’t slowing down.
Soon, other Chinese-based automotive offerings will be available in our market, and they will be competitive.
Will Americans accept these upcoming products? I think it will depend on the branding, and marketing of these items. Selling vehicles under the name of Geely, Great Wall and Chery (among many others), may not be well received. On the other hand, working with partners and offing these products under a different name could change the game.