We have brought you all of the details about Kia’s plans for India, it’s now time to take a look at the cars they will be bringing in for us as well.
While you may have already read our interview with the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors, Thomas Oh, we thought we would give you a low down of the initial range of Kia cars you may get to see in India. As you may have read, Kia Motors is going to invest US$1.1 billion in a brand new 536-acre manufacturing facility in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. The construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in Q4 of 2017 and production is scheduled to commence in 2019.
While Kia Motors has not divulged any information on the cars that it will introduce in the Indian market, Thomas Oh has told us that it will being in three models for India – a cash cow model, a volume model and a sliver bullet or brand image model.
We anticipate that one of the first Kia cars to hit the Indian market would be the Rio sedan. Kia debut the new Rio sedan at the New York Auto Show earlier this month in April. The car is underpinned by the same platform that underpins the current generation Hyundai i20. While design lines at the front do give away its roots, the large front air dam, sleek grille and three box profile ensure that the Rio looks like a much larger and more premium offering than its Hyundai sibling.
Engine options include a single 1.6 litre direct injection petrol engine for the US with the choice of a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Expect the India model to come with a diesel engine option (ideally 1.6 CRDi) as well along with the India spec 1.6 MPFI petrol engine currently serving the Verna and Creta here.
Stringent safety norms in the US have seen Kia fit the new Rio sedan with safety features that include six airbags, side-impact door beams, Electronic Stability Control, a four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System, Hill-start Assist Control and Vehicle Stability Management. We hope to see the India specific model be offered with these features as well.
India being a huge market for hatchbacks, it would be a loss for Kia to leave out an offering in the segment. And on this regard we expect Kia to launch the third generation 2017 Picanto in the Indian market as well. In fact the Picanto (based on the Hyundai Grand i10 platform) was spied testing in India as well, and this was as early as February 2016.
And let's not forget, Indians love their SUVs too, so Kia will be bringing in a compact SUV especially for our market. Although the definition of compact may not necessarily mean sub-4 meter here, as it will be based on the Korean car maker's PB platform which Hyundai and Kia share. As a result, it will be a different version of Hyundai's Creta which is currently doing rather well for Hyundai in India.
As for the silver bullet model it could be possible that the Kia Stinger could make it to India has a Halo model. The flagship performance model from Kia will be offered in two versions globally – Stinger and Stinger GT. The Stinger will be powered by a 2.0 litre, four cylinder petrol engine developing 255bhp of max power and 350Nm of torque. The more powerful GT model gets a 3.3 litre twin turbo V6 petrol engine with 365bhp and 512Nm available on tap. Power will be sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Multiple drive modes, electrically adjustable dampers, an equipment laden cabin are aspects which the Stinger will use to take on well established rivals such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, etc.