Kia EV9 production has kicked off in Georgia

The Kia EV9 is in the wild and has received generally positive reviews from the media and owners, but its foreign manufacturing location has put it at a price disadvantage without federal tax credit eligibility. Kia has maintained that it would produce the EV9 in its facility in Georgia, and yesterday, the automaker announced that it had begun building the three-row EV.

The EV9’s competitive set is pretty slim at the moment, with only the Tesla Model X and Rivian R1S in the same three-row electric SUV segment. While they’re both more expensive than the Kia to start, they both qualify for at least half of the $7,500 tax credit. Moving the EV9 to Georgia opens up eligibility for the $3,750 final assembly location part of the credit, but the other half won’t open until Hyundai’s Georgia battery manufacturing facilities come online.

Kia priced the EV9 starting at $54,900, which increases to $59,200 with a long-range battery. The Wind AWD trim starts at $63,900 and the Land at $69,900. Stepping up to the range-topping GT-Line AWD brings the starting price to $73,900, and adding a few options and accessories pushes the price dangerously close to $80,000.

While the EV9’s range and styling are solid, those are stout prices to pay for a Kia, so the shift to U.S. production should help its cause. It will be the first EV from Kia and Hyundai to qualify for a partial tax credit, though buyers could always use the leasing loophole. Kia’s Georgia plant also builds the Sorento, Sportage, and Telluride, so it’s unclear if the automaker could retool further to move the EV6 to the location.

Kia’s cousin Hyundai is also gearing up for production in Georgia, where it could build the Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6, and future EV models. Both companies have invested billions into manufacturing capacity in the state, making it likely that much of their North American EV lineup will come from there in the future.


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