I'd be interested in reading whatever you read about Kia dealers closing. Can you provide a link for that?
Personally, I regard Kia as being in the same situation that Toyota was in back in the 1980s: a quality manufacturer that is on the rise, but hasn't yet achieved the widespread recognition that would allow it to boost its prices .But its poised to do that in the future. In other words, I think Kia cars are somewhat undervalued and buyers are likely to be getting a good deal because of that.
As I think about this analogy, my first description was probably a bit off. Kia is probably more like Toyota was in the 90s or early 2000s (meaning, they are well on their way to being recognized as a decent brand). But Kia now has a black cloud hanging over it's head because of problems with the Theta II engines (used in other models) that Hyundai/Kia haven't yet addressed in the way that they need to in order to maintain a good reputation.
I'm not aware of any evidence to suggest that Niro owners need to fret about Kia's current publicity problems. Our Kappa engines are a different design, and as near as I can tell, were manufactured in a different plant. So there's not much reason to think that they'll suffer the same problems. (GDI carbon buildup concerns not withstanding). If we have to fret about anything, it's the idea that if Kia doesn't begin to do better in responding to the problems that Theta owners are confronted with, the brand will suffer, and every Kia owner's eventual resale value will probably take a hit because of that.
If I was hot to purchase a Niro today and my dealer was 30 miles away, this is what I would do:
- Try to determine the probability that the dealer will be around indefinitely. That's usually a foregone assumption, but if you are reading about Kia dealers closing shop, you might want to look into that concern specifically with the dealer you will be depending on.
- Plan to get the first oil change done at that dealer, six months or 7500 miles after your purchase. Among other things, it's good to do at least one change at the dealer so that you are sure you are in their computer system and will receive notifications about future recalls, etc.
- Maybe purchase a couple of Niro oil filters and drain plug washers during your visit, and have subsequent oil changes done at a more convenient garage. But keep all your receipts so that you can document that you had the service done, and insist that you get 0W20 synthetic oil at each change and that it's reflected on the receipt.
- Plan to visit the dealer once every two years or so, just so you can ensure that they have a current record of your car, you're getting any unpublished TSB service that you might need, software updates, etc.
- Verify that your purchase comes with some period of Kia Roadside assistance (this is included in the higher trim packages, not sure if it's in all of them). That should go a long way toward alleviating any concerns you might have about the dealer being far away.
- Some folks have mentioned that their car came with lifetime oil changes. If that's being offered to you, it's probably a good deal, unless you think you won't want to make the journey to the dealer for that service. In that case, maybe tell the salesperson that you don't want that and you'd like to know how much you can save on your purchase price by taking that off the package price.