Kia Motors will follow a top-down approach for the Indian market, a strategy that will eventually lead to the launch of a hatchback and a sedan.
Kia will initially focus on UVs, launching a locally manufactured Hyundai Creta rival first and then a locally manufactured sub-4 metre SUV. The Kia Sportage or Kia Grand Carnival could arrive as a CKD import between these two. Later, the company will launch a Hyundai i20 rival (codename: Kia KP1) and a Hyundai Verna rival (codename: Kia KP2).
People familiar with the development have told Mint that Kia has already received an approval for the KP1 and KP2 from its headquarters in South Korea. It has even discussed plans to develop these projects with its vendors.
“The hatchback that Kia is planning to bring into the Indian market will compete directly with Hyundai Elite i20 and Maruti Suzuki Baleno. This (strategy) makes sense since these are the segments that are doing well and will continue to attract customers in the future as well,” said one of the sources.
“In the midsize sedan segment also, the company will throw a challenge to the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz facelift and Hyundai Verna as the quality of the products will be good and the management of Kia both in India and Korea know the India market well enough,” the source said.
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Kia already has Hyundai i20 and Hyundai Verna rivals in its global line-up, the Kia Rio Hatchback and Kia Rio Sedan respectively. If the Kia SP concept is a precedent, India is likely to get locally adapted models with unique designs, having component synergies with Hyundai products, to save cost and time.
Kia India's Marketing and Sales Head, Manohar Bhat, has confirmed to Hindustan Times that the company plans to make the hatchback within three years of starting production in 2019.
[Source 1: Mint]
[Source 2: Hindustan Times]