Even though the automobile sector of India is going through a slowdown, it remains one of the largest markets in the world. There are still many manufacturers who are planning to set-up their manufacturing plants in India. This year, two new brands – MG Motors and Kia have entered the Indian market. With the competition getting stiffer and the launch of new products in the market, Zac Hollis, Director, Skoda India decided to go on a field trip. Mr Hollis tweeted about his intent to go to the showroom of MG Motors and Kia Motors to check out their respective maidan cars – Hector and the Seltos. While he said that the Hector feels like a Chinese product, he very much liked the Kia Seltos. These were revealed in a series of tweets from his official account.
The impression both the cars left on Zac Hollis is strikingly contrasting. While one of the vehicles left a very sub-standard impression on the Skoda India’s senior executive, the other vehicle left a long-lasting impression on him. Incidentally, both vehicles are SUVs.
Skoda India’s director first went into the MG Motors showroom and soon after he uploaded a tweet saying,
” MG. Nice showroom, well designed and fresh Corporate image, trying to show the British heritage. The car is very Chinese in design and quality. The salesman sold heavily on cool connectivity features but for me fit and finish let it down. The salesman did seem to know his product.”
“Now to Kia. Showroom quiet plain in design and not finished but then open only 16 days. Car is very good with plenty of features. Pricing not confirmed yet but I think they have a winner on their hands in Seltos. With India 2.0 we need to raise our game.”
Is Mr Hollis right when he said that the MG Hector looks Chinese?
Well, even though the brand MG Motors is based in the UK, the parent of the brand, SAIC is based in China. The MG Hector, is currently on sale in various countries under the Chinese manufacturers. In China, the vehicle is on sale under the name of Baojun 530 for a long time now. The same vehicle is also on sale in the Indonesian market under the brand of another Chinese manufacturer – Wuling. It is only in India that SAIC uses a British brand name. The Baojun 530 is produced in China by SAIC-GM-Wuling partnership and was launched in the Chinese market way back in 2017. The vehicle is also sold as Chevrolet Captiva in the South American markets like Columbia and Peru. In India, the Hector is produced at former General Motors factory at Halol, Gujarat, which was bought by Chinese automaker SAIC (MG Motors’ current owner) a while ago.
The Hector has received overwhelming response. Over 10,000 people have already booked it, and MG Motors has currently suspended bookings to ensure that it first services the existing orders. Bookings will be reopened later this year. MG Motor is also planning to launch a 7 seat version of the Hector early next year.
When it comes to the Kia Seltos, the vehicle is completely designed by Kia Motors (A South Korean automaker owned by Hyundai), and like the Hector, is a global vehicle, which will be available in various markets. The Seltos has become extremely popular in the market and already received more than 23,000 within three weeks.
But what is the Skoda India director doing in the rival showroom?
He earlier tweeted that he is going to the showrooms to understand the rival products and the sales environment. It should be noted that Skoda is currently spearheading the India 2.0 project, which will see a lot of new launches in the coming months. Skoda is also planning to launch the rival of the Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos in the Indian market, which will be heavily based on the Skoda Kamiq. Later, the Karoq based SUV will be launched in the Indian market that will bridge the gap between the Kamiq and the Karoq in India. The Volkswagen Group will use the highly localised MQB-A0-IN platform for the Indian market to keep the costs in check.