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No hatchbacks or sedans from Kia Motors India, UVs on focus

It is difficult to imagine that Kia Motors has just completed its first year of operations in the Indian car market. The company has achieved so much in this past one year, showing a lot of its competitors what a potent portfolio can do. In fact, Kia has surpassed companies like Toyota, Honda, Skoda and Volkswagen in the monthly sales chart by a huge margin, even though these manufacturers have been present in the Indian market for over a decade now.

A lot of credit for this success of Kia Motors in India can be linked to the intelligent choice of cars launched in the country. The Korean carmaker made its debut with the Kia Seltos, which instantly appealed to the Indian audience, thanks to its feature loaded spec sheet and an alluring design. The Seltos was followed by a premium MPV, the Kia Carnival, which helped enhance the company’s brand image. Now, Kia is all set to introduce its contender for the Compact SUV segment, the Kia Sonet.

Ahead of the Sonet’s India launch, Kia Motors has unveiled its plans for the future. Though the company has a comprehensive portfolio of hatchbacks and sedans in its global lineup, it does not plan to bring them to India. Instead, Kia will continue to focus on the Utility Vehicles (UV) segment.

This decision might come as a surprise to a lot of people, as the hatchback market is still the biggest segment in terms of volume. However, closer analysis of this market makes it clear that Kia’s decision was taken after intensive research. In FY20, the small car segment suffered a loss of 23.5 %, which is the biggest in the entire industry. This shows that Indian buyers are now inclined towards bigger cars rather than going for hatchbacks. Also, the small car market isn’t easy for a new entrant, thanks to the dominance of Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata. All these reasons have led to Kia’s decision to focus on the higher segment instead.

In addition to making SUVs for the Indian market, Kia Motors is also working to make the country its export hub for UVs. Also, there is a Ertiga-rivalling MPV in the pipeline which will be launched in the second half of 2021.

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