Launch of Sonet, with clutchless gearbox, on schedule despite Covid issues: Kia
Kia Motor India has propelled itself among the top automotive companies in just over 10 months with strong products like Seltos and Carnival here. Sonet, its next offering, has the potential of taking the sub-four-meter SUV segment by storm and its launch schedule remains on track despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking to HT Auto in a live session, Manohar Bhat, Head - Marketing and Sales at Kia Motors India, confirmed that the launch of the car remains on track despite Covid-19-related issues. "We intend to go with our pre-existing idea of launching it in the festival season irrespective of Covid issues. Our vendors, our suppliers, everyone is on track for us to come out with the vehicle in the festive season which is August-October period," he said.
Underlining the need to offer a vehicle with a good design with features galore, apart from other key factors, Bhat said that Sonet will bring a whole lot to the table that the segment and the market as a whole has not seen so far. Among these would be a clutchless gearbox. "Sonet has a clutchless manual gearbox which is new for the segment. Basically, it will have a manual gear but won't have a clutch at all. So, it will have the fun of engaging gears without the tedium of having to press the clutch - best of both worlds," he explained.
Bhat also assured of a far smoother ride when compared to what some direct rivals currently have but the USP of the Sonet could well be the feature list it boasts of. "Sonet will have the Kia DNA which stands for excellent design, features which are class-leading and the quality. Customers will have a plethora of choices between petrol and diesel (engines)," he said.
Sonet was first showcased in concept form at Auto Expo 2020 and has managed to generate quite a buzz. The resounding success of Seltos may further help its cause in a segment which currently features Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue and Mahindra's KUV300. All eyes would also be on how Kia prices the Sonet and although current market sentiments are rather unkind towards all OEMs, it could prove to be an exception when launched officially.