The Korea Herald


[Newsmaker] Kia union fears job cuts over online preorders

By Bae Hyunjung

Published : March 23, 2021 - 17:04

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An exterior view of Kia’s EV6. (Kia) An exterior view of Kia’s EV6. (Kia)

Like many global carmakers, Kia Corp. plans to take preorders online for EV6, its first all-electric vehicle built on an exclusive EV platform, slated for release here in July. But its labor union is opposing the idea, sensing a potential threat it poses to the job security of conventional sales staff.

“The online preorder system introduced for the upcoming EV6 will infringe on the employment security of the sales workforce,” the Kia branch of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union said in a newsletter.

“We suspect that the online preorder system for EV6 will soon spill over to all other cars in the near future.”

It demanded the plans for online preorders be retracted in a letter sent to management, and also vowed to hold one-man demonstrations and rallies.

Facing backlash, the company explained that the actual contracts and sales will not take place online.

“The online preorders will mostly be about receiving the names and contact information of aspiring purchasers,” an official said.

Other carmakers that have taken preorders online usually require customers to make a down payment.

“We currently have no plans to expand the online system to all orders in general.”

Despite the company’s reassuring response, anxiety prevailed among unionists, especially as global carmakers have recently begun conducting transactions online, reflecting the contactless trend amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, for instance, have pledged to expand the proportion of their online orders to 80 percent and 25 percent respectively by 2025.

The online preorder event for EV6 is part of the carmaker’s ambitious promotional plan to mark its presence in the fast-growing EV market.

Slated for a rollout in the domestic market in June, Kia is planning to fully unveil the new model through a digital world premiere on March 30, according to officials.

EV6 adopts the electric-global modular platform, or E-GMP -- Hyundai Motor Group’s exclusive EV platform that was also embedded in Hyundai Motor’s recently released Ioniq 5.

Along with Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the upcoming EV under Hyundai Motor’s premium independent brand Genesis, Kia’s EV6 is expected to serve as a key growth pillar for the automaker which vowed to transform itself into a future mobility group this year.

By Bae Hyun-jung (