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Kia boss Thomas Oh: Nissan got it wrong

Kia chief Thomas Oh believes Nissan’s decision to focus on the battery electric Leaf was ‘wrong’.

Nissan dropped the ball with its decision to aggressively pursue battery electric technology, claims Kia Motors’ Chief Operating Officer of International Business. Thomas Oh believes Nissan would have been better served taking a more diverse approach creating low and zero emissions vehicles, and was overconfident in its decision to focus so heavily on the battery electric Nissan Leaf.

Nissan screwed the pooch with its electric car strategy, claims Kia Chief Thomas Oh.
Nissan screwed the pooch with its electric car strategy, claims Kia Chief Thomas Oh.

Speaking recently to Recombu from Kia’s Seoul Head Office, Oh said: “Nissan… chose to focus on electric, rather than hybrid, because they were so confident.”

Oh questioned the wisdom of that decision based on the lack of electric car charging points and lackluster consumer interest, continuing: “They got the wrong plan because of infrastructure issues. I think they’ve changed their focus from electric to hybrid for the time being.”

Nissan had planned to sell 1.5 million electric cars by 2016. However, Renault-Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, has admitted that the company is unlikely to meet this target. Renault-Nissan sold only its 100,000th zero-emission vehicle this July, and that number is a combination of all zero-emissions sales across the entire Renault-Nissan range.

Speaking about his company’s own plans, Thomas Oh suggested Kia has a more diverse approach to creating zero emissions vehicles. Kia Motors is working in all fields of low carbon development, such as engine downsizing, turbo development, diesel hybrid, petrol hybrid, fuel cell and indeed battery electric cars.

Kia’s first fully-electric vehicle, the Kia Ray EV went on sale to the domestic market at the end of November. Kia Motors plan to release an electric version of its Soul model late in 2014.



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