When the Seltos was launched in 2019, little did we know that the brand Kia will become so successful in one of the toughest markets in the world. Although the potential was there with a product like the Seltos, it still needed a strong backup product to continue the success. Otherwise, Kia would just have a single-product brand in India. Thankfully for Kia, however, Sonet turned out to be that product for Kia which established the brand in the country. And now, with 17 months of entry into the Indian market, Kia becomes the fastest carmaker to reach the 2-lakh cars milestone. This is an almost unprecedented success enjoyed by any new car maker in India. The brand continues to grow strong and we try to see the sales report and reason for Kia’s achievement.
The very first product from Kia was the Seltos in the mid-size SUV segment. Kia made it very clear that it is here to fight by being in the same segment as the Creta, the highest selling SUV in the country. It was confident with the product as they had done a lot of research prior to coming here about the Indian sensibilities and learned a lot from its sibling Hyundai Motors. Hyundai is already India’s second-largest car manufacturer and holds the second position very comfortably. Hence, Kia provided the Indian customers what they wanted, which is a ton of new features and convenience. The Indian customers have evolved and have started to appreciate modern technological features and conveniences, which Kia capitalized on. As a result, Kia Seltos was able to sell a total of just under 1,50,000 units of which around 97,000 were sold in 2020 alone.
The story with the Kia Sonet is also the same, although it belongs to a segment below the mid-size segment, namely the compact SUV segment. This segment is officially the fastest growing and the most popular segment in the country. Just when we thought that this segment can not get any more competitive, Kia launched Sonet last year and boy were we wrong. It took the segment by surprise and became an instant hit. The waiting periods on Sonet continue to indicate the demand for the vehicle. Again the winning formula was a ton of features and styling. In 2020, Kia sold over 38,000 units of the Sonet even though it was launched in September. The trend carries on and there is no sign of stopping.
Currently, Kia is selling two SUVs and one MPV in India. The sales of the MPV are a minute share in Kia’s overall sales but the other two belong to the biggest segment in India, the SUV segment. Needless to say, that the rivals include products from Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai as well as Tata and Mahindra. In the mid-size SUV segment, Hyundai Creta is the segment leader with over 97,000 sales in 2020. In the compact SUV segment, however, there are multiple competitors including Hyundai Venue, Mahindra XUV300, Tata Nexon and Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. The future only brings more competition with a ton of new cars waiting to be launched this year. Whether or not Kia continues this success even in the times to come or will it crumble under the fierce competition remains to be seen.