Kia Motors, the sister brand of Hyundai, a South Korean carmaker, is dead serious about starting car sales in India in 2019. The company is currently meeting prospective dealership managements and setting up a plant in Andhra Pradesh. Kia Motors has not divulged any details on India-bound models yet. However, words from Peter Schreyer, president and chief design officer of Hyundai Motor Group indicates the Kia is keen in bringing the Stonic subcompact crossover SUV in India.
"I think SUVs are an important segment (for India), especially small SUVs. They provide a high seating position and ability to negotiate rough roads which are common in India. We recently introduced the Stonic, a unique car with a lot of character, in Europe and Korea, and I think it will fit very well here," Autocar India quoted Schreyer as saying.
Kia Motors unveiled the Stonic at 2017 Frankfurt motor show in June and it is the smallest in company's SUV line-up, below the Niro, Sportage, and Sorento. The SUV is based on the Kia Rio/Hyundai GB platform and it will take on the Nissan Juke. However, the crossover may be too espensive for India. Hence, India-spec Stonic may use an all-new SUV platform currently under development for emerging markets.
The Stonic is offered with a choice of four engines starting from a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine to a 1.6-litre CRDi four-cylinder diesel. Kia Motors has confirmed personalisation is a key factor in the Stonic's development. Hence the SUV will be offered with 20 different two-tone colour combinations, including five different roof colours.
Previous reports claim Kia Motors may kick-start India operations with the launch a mid-SUV to take on the likes of the Hyundai Creta. The SUV will be followed by a line-up of sedans and hatchbacks. From the SUVs of the company, the Soul and Sportage are the two most probable models for India. More details on the India-spec models are expected to be revealed at Auto Expo 2018 in February.