Kia NBA-Themed EV9 Update: An Analysis

Kia appears to have tapped into the fervent NBA fanbase with an update to its award-winning EV9, just in time for the playoffs. This update allows enthusiasts to proudly display their support for their favorite NBA team on their vehicles. However, the initial rollout seems to have hit a snag, as the sample images feature an unfortunate error — supporting the New York Knicks instead of the Miami Heat.

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While the mishap may raise eyebrows, it’s evident that Kia’s PR team may have prioritized the larger market over the top-ranked team in the Eastern Conference, or even the league overall. Many might argue that featuring the Boston Celtics would have been a more fitting choice.

Moving beyond the misstep, the update transforms the car’s driving display into a virtual team billboard, showcasing the team’s logo and colors in various spots. Surprisingly, this customization option comes at a hefty price of $39.99 in the Kia Connect Store, leaving some to question the rationale behind such a steep charge for what seems like a simple feature.

Initially available exclusively for the Kia EV9, Kia plans to extend this option to other models in the future. However, compatibility requires the inclusion of Kia’s Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC) infotainment system with Digital Features and Services OTA capability.

Kia emphasizes the opportunity for diehard fans to exhibit their loyalty to their favorite NBA team through customized instrument clusters, infotainment screens, and unique welcome and goodbye videos. Yet, the exclusion of teams like the Miami Heat raises eyebrows, especially considering their popularity.

Despite the initial hiccup, Kia promises more exciting features for basketball aficionados in the pipeline. Steven Center, COO and EVP of  America, expresses enthusiasm for future collaborations and digital enhancements to enhance the ownership experience.

Looking ahead, it’s conceivable that  may extend similar offerings to other sports leagues, such as the NFL, NHL, MLB, and MLS. This move underscores automakers’ efforts to monetize connected car technologies and OTA updates. Whether viewed as a strategic business move or a slight to consumers, the debate continues over the balance between revenue generation and customer satisfaction in the era of connected vehicles.

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