South Korean car manufacturer Kia is all set to launch its first product in India. The first product will be an SUV which will be launched in the second half this year. Kia has just commenced trial production of Kia SP SUV in its $1 billion greenfield plant in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
Manohar Bhat, Head Sales and Marketing, Kia Motors India, said
The company has managed to set up the plant in record time couple of months ahead of schedule after we begun work in October-November of 2017.
Kia had earlier confirmed in an event held in Puducherry that it has plans to Introduce new cars every six months after the launch of their first product. Kia’s SUV is based on a concept car that was showcased at 2018 Indian Auto Expo. Kia has confirmed that the upcoming SUV will be equipped with power packed performance and world class quality.
Talking about the engine, it is likely to be a 1.4L turbo petrol engine producing 140 Bhp. A 1.5L petrol and diesel engine is also expected. Kia will also bring a sportier version of the SP SUV in 2020. An all wheel drive variant is unlikely to be launched.
Kia even has plans to introduce EVs in India. Testing on these EVs is under progress. Mahesh Bhat also said that Kia has EVs which can run for about 450 km for a single charge and they will offer them when the market demand picks up. He also added concerted efforts are required to develop EV support infrastructure to promote electric vehicles in India.
The SP SUV has been caught testing several times on Indian roads. The Production version of the Kia SUV looks similar to the concept showcased at the Auto Expo. It has a sharp looking LED DRL above the headlamps just like the one seen on Tata Harrier, a large front grille and the tail lights are also likely to remain same as that of SP Concept SUV.
Kia is Hyundai’s premium brand and the upcoming SUV is likely to be placed slightly above Hyundai Creta. The Kia SUV will compete with cars like the Hyundai Creta and the recently launched Tata Harrier. The Kia SP SUV is likely to offer more features than the Hyundai Creta. However, it will share the platform with the Hyundai Creta, and a lot of parts are also expected to be shared in order to keep costs low.
Apart from India, Kia Motors has manufacturing plants located in South Korea, Slovakia, China, USA and Mexico. Kia also has plans to be ranked among the top five automobile manufacturers in country in three years.