The Kia MPV will slot between the Maruti Ertiga and Toyota Innova in terms of size and price
Kia has been enjoying a Midas touch in India with all the three of its products turning gold so to speak. With that confidence and brand pull, Hyundai’s sister brand has set its eyes on yet another potentially lucrative segment in the unforgiving Indian passenger car market. We are talking about the compact MPV space.
New Kia MPV – A Seltos derivative
Kia India is working on a people carrier based on the highly successful Seltos platform. With markets like India as primary target, the new Kia MPV is planned to be ready for launch in Jan 2020, about 1 year from now.
As far as market positioning and dimensions are concerned, the upcoming 7-seater is expected to slot above the Maruti Ertiga and Toyota Innova Crysta, right in the sweet spot currently occupied by the Mahindra Marazzo. The new Kia MPV is internally codenamed KY.
Kia aims to sell 50k units of this new MPV locally in domestic market, while exports are planned at 26k units annually. Production will take place at the company plant in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh; which has a production capacity of 3 lakh units annually.
Once the new MPV has been launched, Kia will need a production capacity of 3.32 lakh units annually to meet its target. This means they will need to increase their production capacity. For a brand that has just arrived in India, this is phenomenal speed of growth.
The Seltos-based Kia MPV will go for a sporty design language centered around the brand’s trademark Tiger-Shark grill. A sleek profile, LED headlights, alloy wheels and ample dash of chrome can be expected.
A best-in-segment equipment list is Kia’s USP in India and the upcoming MPV will not be any different. The automaker just became the first OEM in the country to achieve 1 lakh sales milestone for connected cars which contributed to over 55% of its overall sales.
So, the higher variants of the new Kia MPV will receive the popular UVO Connect platform which offers 57 smart features. Multiple airbags, ventilated front seats, rear view camera, 360-degree camera, sunroof, etc are also expected to be offered.
Being based on the Kia Seltos, the Mahindra Marazzo rival is expected to offer both diesel engine petrol engine options. The 1.5-liter 115 hp diesel motor will be the prime choice while the naturally aspirated 1.5-liter petrol unit, also producing 115, will cater to the lower variants. It remains to be seen if the people carrier will employ a turbo-petrol engine or not.
The Indian MPV segment
After a brief lull, the Indian MPV segment has managed to hold its ground against the compact crossover surge. In fact, it is the only segment in that price range to survive the rapid shift in the trend. The C Sedan segment, for instance, has been diminishing in sales volume despite strong products.
India’s MPV/MUV segment registered sales of about 27k units last month, with Maruti Ertiga + XL6 sales at almost 13k units. The new Kia MPV is expected to emerge as a significant boost to the segment with class leading volumes from the beginning. With high economies of scale, prices are expected to be competitive.