The C-segment is finally seeing some action in India, thanks to the advent of locally manufactured C-SUVs, and Kia plans to have an even bigger presence in the segment. According to a new report from Autocar India, in addition to the Sportage SUV, the company is evaluating the Ceed hatchback for our market.
The last time an automaker dared launching a high-volume C-segment hatchback in India was in July 2006, when Chevrolet introduced the SRV (Optra 5-door). It received a lukewarm response in our market. Twelve years later, as Kia chalks out its India entry, it sees the perception of family hatchbacks changed and finds them opportunistic.
Sun Wook Hwang, Senior General Manager, Marketing and PR, Kia Motors India, has confirmed that the company's line-up could include the Ceed hatchback, which received a full model change in February this year. The company wants to explore opportunities even outside the traditional segments and body styles.
India’s punitive tax structure that levies higher tax on ICE-powered cars longer than four metres is not a deterring factor for Kia in launching the Ceed. The company will market it as a model for buyers looking for something outstanding. It may price this model at the same level as C-segment sedans (such as Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla Altis) or maybe even higher.
If Kia decides to launch the Ceed in India, it will do so it in the sporty GT Line variant that debuted at the 2018 Paris Motor Show last month. This variant features unique 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels and bumper designs as well as GT-inspired interior design cues and sports seats.
The Kia Ceed GT Line is available with the 120 PS 1.0L T-GDi and 140 PS 1.4L T-GDi petrol engines and also the 115 PS/136 1.6L Smartstream CRDi diesel engine. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, while a 7-speed DCT is available optionally with the 1.4L and 1.6L engines. In India, expect the 140 PS 1.4L petrol engine and the 136 PS 1.6L diesel engine paired with a 7-speed DCT as standard.
Initially, Kia will locally assemble the Ceed from CKD kits, but if the demand exceeds 1,000 units a month, it may look at manufacturing.