There’s no other way of putting this – Kia Motors has had a dream start in India. The Seltos has claimed the title of being the bestselling SUV in the country in succession. That has helped its maker to claim a spot in the top-5 players as a carmaker in India. The Creta-rival received a price list in August 2019. By the end of November, it had racked-up over 40,000 sales. Forty thousand six hundred forty-nine, to be precise. From January 2020, prices for the Seltos are set to go up.
Don’t let that put you off, as Kia has a “robust plan for India”. That plan includes expanding the dealership and service network, introducing new connected-car technologies, digitising car buying and aftersales experience, and launching new models to build on Seltos’ success. In 2020, Kia Motors India has lined-up two new cars. The first one, which will enter production and receive a price list in the first half of the year, is a premium MPV – the Carnival (sold as the Sedona in several other markets). The second will be a Vitara Brezza rival, which will be with us before 2020 comes to a close. As of now, that model carries the codename QYI.
In all fairness, the Kia Carnival will occupy a more luxurious MPV space than the Toyota Innova Crysta. It is a product that will kindle more with private buyers than those running a transportation business. That means the South Korean product is likely to entice customers away from the reigning MPV king. Just maybe, the latter’s range-topping derivatives could still make their case against the base Carnival. In all likelihood, Kia will offer its MPV in three seating configurations – 6, 7 and 8. Apart from that, the Carnival will outmeasure the Innova inside and out, and, with a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine producing 197bhp/440Nm, outperform it too.
As for the QYI, the confirmed set of details are next to none. That opens the gate to “Speculation Street”. Kia Motors, as we all know, is part of the Hyundai Group. With the Hyundai Venue already making a strong case in India, the Kia QYI could take the same recipe and tart it up a bit. That activity will help Kia to establish a more premium image as a carmaker. For the QYI package, some easy guesswork points towards Seltos-like connected-car technology, multiple powertrain options and a more upmarket fit-and-finish.
Kia Motors India’s sole production plant is now fully operational. With an annual capacity to produce 300,000 units, it creates an excellent platform for the upcoming models. The obvious question: Is Kia going down the right path in India? What do you think?