High demand for the recently launched Kia Sonet has led to waiting periods of the compact SUV soaring to as long as 2 months for select variants. The Sonet became India’s best selling SUV right in its first month of launch, clocking sales of 9,266 units. Strong pre-booking numbers, a wide variety of variants to choose from and very attractive price tags are three main factors driving Sonet sales. Kia Motors India is contemplating the addition of a third shift at its Anantapur factory in Andhra Pradesh should demand for the Sonet persist. Currently, the South Korean automaker part owned by Hyundai operates two shifts and is capable of producing 2 lakh car per year. An extra shift in the factory will take production upto 3 lakhs cars/year.
In September 2020, Kia Motors sold over 18,000 vehicles including the Sonet sub-4 meter SUV, the Seltos compact SUV and the Carnival luxury MPV. Kia Motors entered the Indian market last year with the Seltos compact SUV, and almost instantly raced to the top-five automakers list. Meanwhile, Mr Manohar Bhat, the Vice-President & Head Marketing and Sales at Kia Motors had this to tell TOI about the additional shift at the Anantapur factory,
We will do it depending on the demand. We were very quick to start second shift last year with bookings for Seltos increasing. we would like to have the third shift as our dream is to make sure that our entire capacity is fully utilized. It is a very difficult time to run a factory during COVID times as our facilities are linked to so many vendor factories and each one of them is grappling with the COVID thing. It is very difficult. It is not only about our own capacity alone but it also depends on the suppliers. Even for an example, a nut gets delayed then the entire vehicle is delayed. So, we depend on vendors also ramping up at the same time to be able to start the third shift and increase the production. So, we will do it at some point in time but when is that time would depend on vendors as well.
The Kia Sonet is available with three engine options, and four gearbox options, making it one of the most versatile offerings in the sub-4 meter compact SUV space. The entry-level engine is a 1.2 liter-4 cylinder naturally aspirated unit with 82 Bhp-114 Nm. A 5 speed manual gearbox is standard with this engine. The top-of-the-line petrol engine is a 1.0 liter-3 cylinder turbocharged unit with 118 Bhp-172 Nm outputs. 6 speed IMT (semi -automatic) and 7 speed twin clutch automatic gearboxes are on offer with this engine. The diesel engine is a 1.5 liter-4 cylinder turbocharged unit with 99 Bhp-240 Nm (113 Bhp-250 Nm on the Automatic) outputs, and two gearbox options: a 6 speed manual and a 6 speed torque converter automatic. Prices of the Sonet start from Rs. 6.72 lakh. Do check our video review here.