Kia unveiled their new small car called Picanto. Based on the Grand i10, this new 5 door hatchback could also be launched in India in the future. Kia Picanto is designed at the Kia European Design Center in Germany.
On board features include projector headlamps, vertical tail lamps and front fog lights along with rear parking sensors and rear defogger some of which could only make its way into the higher variants. The Kia Picanto dimensions have increased compared to old version. 15mm added to wheelbase which now measures 2,400mm while length stays the same as its earlier counterpart at 3,595mm.
Interiors boast of a simple design with centrally mounted touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity while steering mounted controls and telephone buttons will also be evident. Kia Picanto will also be seen with automatic climate controls, AUX/USB ports, heated front seats and comfortable seating with seats done up in contrasting red and black.
The company has refrained from giving any details of engine lineup though the new Kia Picanto could continue to sport the 1.0 liter petrol engine and a 1.0 liter T-GDI 3 cylinder turbo engine as seen on the Cee’d.
Speaking about India launch, it has already been reported that Kia Motors, Hyundai’s sister brand, is currently in talks with a few Indian state governments to set up its local manufacturing facility. Meanwhile, the company has already started work on developing India-spec models with the help of its Hyderabad R&D facility (owned by Hyundai).
According to a note in Kia’s recent annual report, the R&D centre in Hyderabad supports design and evaluation of automobiles with a focus on developing localised products.
It is unconventional for an automaker to start with its R&D operations before the commencement of retail sales. This highlights the strong conviction Kia has on the Indian market. Kia and Hyundai share the platform to benefit from economies of scale and turn profitable quickly. Almost all of Kia’s products share their platform with Hyundai and hence, the positioning needs to be clearly defined.
Now that Hyundai clearly made a shift to the premium end of the market with its Grand i10, i20, Creta and upcoming Tucson, Kia is likely to take up the cost sensitive space previously occupied by its sister company and lead the charge against Maruti Suzuki. Such a strategy would be in contrast to the market positioning of these two brands in the international markets. Kia is positioned above Hyundai globally.
The government officials of Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh are reported to have offered land for Kia to set up its plant. We would be knowing about the automaker’s final decision on the location of its India plant sooner than later.
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