Announcement expected by early 2017; sales operations may take about two years to begin.
Hyundai‘s sister brand from Korea is keen on entering the Indian market by next year, although the company has not officially confirmed the development. But do not rejoice right away, Kia may take a longer period to commence commercial sales; the development is still at a very nascent stage. According to certain reports, Kia is likely to open a manufacturing unit in the southern Andhra Pradesh region, so as to gain logistical leverage of close proximity to Hyundai’s Chennai plant and Ennore port.
Kia’s product strategy for India is likely to be based on the current platform and model line-up of its parent company. Although it is unlikely to enter popular mass-market segments with a couple of ‘product-twin’ cars (as in case of Renault-Nissan), the line-up is expected to not digress too much from its parent brand’s range. Once the company gains some hold in the market, it may spawn newer models with brand-new platforms and . Here’s is the expected list of cars that may make it to India.
#1. Kia Picanto
Picanto is an incredibly cute hatch that share its roots with the Hyundai i10. The current-generation of this car is getting older, therefore, by the time Kia is ready in India, an all-new car will be on the scene. The i10’s 1.0-litre 3-cyclinder Kappa petrol engine is sure to be found inside Indian-spec Picanto as well.
#2. Kia Rio Hatchback
If Picanto is i10-based, guess what car this premium hatch is related to? Its exterior silhouette and styling is sure to zero you down to the Elite i20. Since i20 is a runaway hit in India, Kia may try to position the Rio a little premium, with lofty in-cabin and engine options. A 1.0-litre turbo petrol is also expected to grace the range as well.
#3. Kia Sportage SUV
The 4th generation Sportage was launched last year, with a trendy design consisting of sharp edges and smooth lines. It is based on the the same platform as Hyundai Tuscon and Elantra. In India, the model may share the 2.0-litre diesel engine and transmission options from the new Tuscon.
#4. Kia Soul
The Soul is an upright compact crossover that does not have a Hyundai alternative in India. Its taller stance and better ride height may infuriate some of sub-4m tiny SUVs, and is definitely a premium offering way apart the hatchback segment.
#5. Kia Niro Hybrid
It’s brand new, just off- the global debut early this year. Positioned above the Sportage, the Niro features a 1.6-litre Kappa 3 petrol engine slapped with a 43 hp electric motor. Its SUV stance and high seating is sure to catch our buyers interest, but the ‘hybrid’ tag may push it farther away from the segment it naturally belongs to. Lets hope that the prevailing apathy on hybrids in India goes away in two years time.