Due to the slowly but steadily dwindling popularity of hatchback and sedans in India, Kia has decided to focus on SUVs and MPVs
Kia Motors India has had quite a successful run in our market, primarily owing to the popularity of the Seltos SUV. The Carnival MPV has also enjoyed quite a decent success in the premium market space. The South Korean carmaker already has another car lined up for launch in our country, the ‘Sonet’. This sub-4-metre SUV will be the most affordable vehicle in Kia’s lineup.
According to a recent report, Kia will focus entirely on Utility Vehicles for the Indian market. The compact SUV segment is the most popular market space in the Indian market, as these vehicles are much more practical family cars than sedans and hatchbacks. Even MPVs, both affordable and premium, have also been enjoying decent sales in India.
Although hatchbacks or sedans still make a majority of the car sales in India, their sales are slowing down in recent times, with the corresponding rise in crossover sales. As such, Kia doesn’t have plans to launch any in our market, at least in the near future. With the ongoing slowdown in the market, it actually seems smart on Kia’s part to not introduce cars that aren’t expected to perform well.
The rising popularity of crossover SUVs is not only limited to India, rather it is a global phenomenon. Even Ford has decided to focus on pickup trucks and SUVs in its home market, and has discontinued almost all hatchbacks and sedans there.
Kia has also stated that India is becoming an important part of the company’s global strategy. Ho Sung Song, President and CEO, Kia Motors Corporation, was quoted saying: “We will use the India factory as a standard export hub for compact and medium-sized SUVs because the worldwide trend is that the SUV is getting stronger and stronger, while the hatch and sedan are getting decreased.”
Some reports also suggest Kia and Hyundai are working on a new EV for India, which will probably compete with the Tata Nexon EV and the upcoming Mahindra eXUV300. Some sources suggest it will be based on the Venue/Sonet’s platform, while others hint at a brand new dedicated platform for entry-level EVs.