Kia India’s maiden product, the Seltos, has provided the automaker with an excellent initial momentum. The company would be aiming to capitalize on this strong start with introduction of four more locally manufactured products in the medium term but it is also exploring the possibility of foraying in to higher segments with CKD (Completely Knocked Down units) imports.
Economic Times reports that Kia India has set up a CKD assembly line alongside the manufacturing lines at its spanking new Anatapur facility in Andhra Pradesh. In addition to the five locally made products, the South Korean automaker is looking at three to four CKD products. The aim is to have a product portfolio of 6 to 8 models with prices ranging from INR 10 lakh to 50 lakh.
The publication also reports that models like Kia Sorento crossover (Hyundai Tucson rival), Stinger performance sedan and Telluride full-size SUV feature in the list of potential products that could be imported into India as CKD kits and assembled locally. It is to be noted here that the Telluride is an 8 seater full sized premium SUV. It is the largest and the most premium SUV ever to be built by Kia.
Importing CBU (Completely Built Units) products attracts a hefty custom duty of 120% whereas CKD assembly operation costs almost half of that. The projected sales volume for the aforementioned premium models doesn’t justify the investment required for local manufacturing.
Kia India aims to achieve a market share of 5% in the highly competitive auto market. While most of the work will be done by the locally manufactured cars, the CKD models would act as brand shapers in high-end segments.
For instance, the Kia Telluride, if launched, would go on against luxury SUVs like Audi Q7, Mercedes GLS, BMW X5 and Volvo XC90. The largest model in Kia’s passenger vehicle lineup would have best-in-class size-to-price ratio as its USP.
The Kia Sorento premium crossover would be pitted against the likes of Jeep Compass, Tata Harrier 7-Seater, Hyundai Tucson, VW Tiguan, etc. Kia is also reportedly evaluating the potential of Soul or Niro EV in India.
If the EV ecosystem takes off in the country, the automaker would be establishing its presence in the promising segment. In fact, the Anatapur facility was built with future EV production in mind.