Hyundai Motor’s sister company Kia Motors has finally landed up in India after long speculations. Kia will be commencing its Indian operations in the second half of 2019, and it wants to place itself as a premium brand in the domestic car market India. Being a new entrant in India, Kia wishes to have a distinctive brand appeal in the highly competitive Indian car market with more alluring offerings than its already well-established market competitors.
While speaking to the media on the sidelines of Auto Expo 2018, Kia Motors’ President Han-Woo Park said that the company will position itself at a slight premium position, as it can’t fight with Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai in terms of competitive costs.
To mark itself apart as a more premium brand that the two top selling car makers in India (Maruti and Hyundai) Kia is betting big on stunning design language. The South Korean car maker thinks that the styling of its products will be the primary thing that will distinctively differentiate them from their rivals, which will let the brand aim at a different set of buyers. Kia’s aim is to have a brand appeal that is different from other carmakers in India, including its sibling Hyundai. Kia intends to do this by leveraging its eye-catching, sporty and vivacious models that are aimed at the younger consumers. Thus, Kia’s establishment strategy for India is the same as that of its global business strategy.
Park added by saying that Kia will compete with other car makers in India depending on its design language which is young, stylish and lively. The company’s design strength comes from some patent Kia styling elements such as the ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, which will help the brand differentiate its offerings from the others.
Kia unveiled the SP Concept SUV at the Auto Expo 2018, which drew major attention with its sporty and aggressive styling. The SP Concept is the preview to the first India-specific SUV launch form Kia in India in 2019, when it begins operations from a new facility in Andhra Pradesh.
The Kia SP Concept SUV flaunts the ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, sleek stylish headlights, big fog lights enclosures, flared wheel arches and massive alloy wheels. The production version of the SUV will be underpinned by a new platform that will also underpin the new-gen Hyundai Creta, its primary rival upon launch.
The SP SUV is a 5-seater compact SUV, but the platform is fully capable of developing a 7-seater model. However, Kia will focus on a 5-seater model first, and will consider a 7-seater only if it gets great response, said Park. Although the SUV has been design keeping India in India, it will be global product.
Park further said that the company has to focus on reducing cost to win over the Indian buyers.
Kia showcased 16 of its global models at the Auto Expo 2018. While all of these aren’t coming to India, a few are definitely expected, such as the Hyundai Elite i20 rival Rio, Jeep Compass rival Sportage and the Kia Soul EV.