Kia Motors, the South Korean car brand, had made a grand entry to India at the recently concluded Auto Expo 2018. The sister brand of Hyundai showcased a total of 16 international models at the show and the highlight was the SP Concept SUV, which is exclusively made for India. It looks like the overwhelming response from the showgoers has prompted the company to advance the start of sales in India.
Kia Motors' original plan was to start sales in India in the second half of 2019 and the company is in the advanced stages of setting up a plant in Andhra Pradesh. "In the four months (since work has started), we are ahead of the schedule by two months. Seeing the products (we have got) and the response we have received (at the Auto Expo), possibly the earlier we come out, the better response we will get (from the market)," Economic Times quoted Manohar Bhat, Kia Motors India's head of marketing and sales, as saying.
Kia Motors targets to become one of the top five carmakers in India within three years of commencing operations. A compact SUV based on the SP Concept will spearhead the mission. Kia Motors claims the SUV concept provides a glimpse of what's in store for motoring enthusiasts.
The SP concept features an unmistakable SUV stance with a boxy design. The face of the concept gets a bold design with Kia's unique and hallmark 'Tiger nose' grille. It is flanked by slim headlamps and both have an integrated stance. The clamshell bonnet, bigger tires, Hyundai Creta like tail lamps and chrome beading between them adds SUV character to the SP Concept.
In addition to the SP Concept, Kia Motors showcased a range of its international models that include the Picanto, Rio, Stonic, Cerato, Cee'd, Soul EV, Cadenza, Stinger, Mohave, Sorento, Sorento, Grand Carnival, Niro Plug-In Hybrid and Optima Plug-In Hybrid at the Auto Expo 2018. It remains to be seen which models among these will be launched in India.
Kia will also set up a distribution network to reach out to a minimum of 120 cities in the next three years. Together with service workshops, Kia Motors India plans to reach out 300 towns and cities.