Kia Corporation and Kakao Mobility, South Korea’s leading mobility as a service (MaaS) platform service company, have announced a collaboration to develop “purpose-built vehicles (PBVs) optimised for ride-hailing and new mobility services linked to PBVs.”
The parties, including Kia’s President and CEO Ho Sung Song, EVP and Head of Korea Business Division Hyug Ho Kwon, head of the eLCV Business Division Sangdae Kim, as well as Kakao Mobility’s CEO Alex Ryu, Executive Vice President Matthew Ahn, and Senior Vice President Christopher Chang, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the project at Kia’s headquarters in Seoul.
Under the agreement, Kia will develop customised PBVs using operation data of vehicles to meet the specific requirements of Kakao Mobility’s ride-hailing services. The developed PBVs are expected to continue to capture operation data during their partnership, bringing further insights.
Kia plans to reflect various solutions developed through this cooperation with Kakao Mobility in its future dedicated PBV models, planned for launch in 2025.
The two companies also intend to collaborate on planning specialized services linking software and vehicle data for Kia’s dedicated PBVs. The service includes enabling interaction between in-vehicle-infotainment and the software platform of Kakao Mobility.
In addition, the collaboration is expected to establish advanced ride-hailing models that can evolve the mobility service market by providing highly personalised mobility solutions for numerous types of customers.
“We are confident that the collaboration will create the optimum synergies through Kia’s mobility technologies, including our leadership in PBVs, and Kakao Mobility’s expertise in software and platforms,” CEO Song said. “These synergies can create new value in the mobility service market and further accelerate Kia’s rapid transformation to a sustainable mobility solutions provider.”
Through the collaborative partnership in Korea, Kia and Kakao Mobility will complete the development of a standardized service model for ride-hailing. The two parties will then expand their services to various industries, including the lease and logistics sectors and areas for transporting passengers with specific needs, broadening Kia and Kakao Mobility’s offering to global markets.
In April of this year, Kia celebrated a milestone moment with the groundbreaking ceremony of the new dedicated plant for its PBVs in Korea. The facility is set to begin mass production in the latter half of 2025, with an initial capacity of 150,000 units for the first full year, and room for further expansion in response to evolving market trends.