It’s bad enough that it’s a seller’s market right now, but that advantage makes things worse when customers are being put through the wringer for simply being interested in a new model. Take what’s going on with one of the hottest new EVs on the market, the Kia EV6. Prospective EV6 buyers are reporting that dealers are putting them through unnecessary headaches — and through my own investigation, many don’t even seem to be interested in selling the EV at all. Of course, it’s mostly California dealers doing this.
We were first tipped off to what’s going on by a reader named Joel, who lives in Southern California. Joel, like many, is interested in purchasing an EV6. But Kia dealers seem to have other ideas. It’s like they don’t actually want to sell the thing.
Among the problems he encountered? A barrier to a simple test drive. He encountered seven different dealers that required credit checks before test drives. What makes this worse is that he was being told this as a cash buyer. Dealers from Downtown Los Angeles to Orange County to Inland were requiring similar checks.
I reached out to some of the same dealers myself to see if this were true. While it was, they weren’t as upfront about it as they were with Joel. One dealer, Huntington Beach Kia, told me that I’d have to come in because “there are some other things required” if I wanted to take a look at and test drive the EV6 after I asked if they did home delivery. A sketchy way of doing business.
Even worse are the markups. While dealers seem to be stocking a few of the Wind trim of the EV6 (which starts at $47,000) nearly all of them are stocking GT-Lines. Those start at $51,200, or $55,900 if you want AWD. You’ll never find one at that price. Markups range from $10,000 to $25,000 on GT-Lines. Riverside Kia informed me their GT-Lines would be going for over $70,000. Huntington Beach told me they had $15,000 markups on their EV6.
Some dealers also seem to have little to no interest in actually selling the EV6. I know, you’re probably saying, “the credit checks for test drives and the markups show that,” but this is something else. Like being disinterested if you aren’t willing to make an appointment to come in that day.
For example, I asked Citrus Kia about pricing, and the dealership responded with the typical, “When can you come in?” When I said I’d prefer to get pricing before anything else, they never responded again.
There’s also a total lack of knowledge or outright lies about the EV6. The most glaring lie was a dealer telling me that the EV6 comes with the charger included. It doesn’t.
And what of our friend Joel? Did he ever buy an EV6? He informed he was actually able to finally place an order, but its with a dealer in Idaho. He decided to buy out of state after some bullshit with Glendale Kia:
Glendale did finally let us test drive yesterday, today they reached out and agreed to MSRP+tax,lic,fee over text, however upon showing up and doing the paperwork song and dance said “we know what we promised but turns out we can’t do that. We’ll do MSRP + $1900 in add-ons (of which only a 999 “Pulse” and a “149 road side kit” were actually itemized on the dealer window supplement sticker), so not sure what the rest of it was.
I have a confirmed out of state dealer in Idaho with a full tentative contract in writing for MSRP and no add ons so we’re just going that route and get a car delivered to our door instead.
Good for him. But he shouldn’t have had to go thousands of miles to purchase a vehicle that’s readily available locally. If Kia wants buyers to transition to its EVs, it needs to deal with the problem on its hands: its dealers.
While the EV6 isn’t cheap (and the federal tax credit is not a discount; I don’t care what anyone says), dealers pricing it out of reach for a majority of buyers doesn’t help things. Requiring credit checks for test drives on it is even worse. This isn’t some limited production, high-dollar car. This is a car that’s supposed to bring EVs to the masses. While all of this is made worse by the chip shortage, it’s in no way caused by it. This is business as usual for these dealers. And if things don’t change, we’ll be reading about how Kia killed the EV6 in 2025 with the blame being “consumers had little interest in it,” rather than “dealers made it hard to purchase.”