Home > Auto > Cars > Telluride 'a good choice' but Kia may prefer Soul for Indian market
File photo of Kia Soul EV.
File photo of Kia Soul EV.

Telluride 'a good choice' but Kia may prefer Soul for Indian market

  • Speaking to HT Auto, Manohar Bhat, Head - Marketing and Sales at Kia Motors India, highlighted how having strong products in international markets helps.
  • On electric vehicles, Bhat says it is not a question of if but when.

Kia Motor India took the market by storm last August when it introduced the Seltos SUV here. The car propelled the Korean company to a position of strength from where it continues to challenge more established rivals who have been dominating various segments here. And with a number of vehicles in the international market raking up awards galore, the buzz is only increasing about which of these vehicles could make their way to India in the coming times.

Kia Telluride SUV has won the much-coveted 2020 World Car of the Year award by beating some very strong rivals like the Mazda3 and Mazda CX-30. (All photos courtesy: Kia)
Kia Telluride SUV has won the much-coveted 2020 World Car of the Year award by beating some very strong rivals like the Mazda3 and Mazda CX-30. (All photos courtesy: Kia)

In a live chat with HT Auto, Manohar Bhat, Head - Marketing and Sales at Kia Motors India, was asked about the prospects of vehicles like Telluride and Soul EV making their way to India, especially after winning the World Car of the Year Award and World Urban Car of the Year Award respectively. "We have to check out what can be a good fit for the Indian market in terms of our image and in terms of what Indian customers will actually enjoy using. Telluride is a good choice (for India) but it will be more towards the Soul or something," he said.

Bhat, however, also mentioned that Kia Motor India is re-looking at which cars to bring in to India as planning needs to change due to current Covid-19-related situations. "What is going to be introduced in the Indian market is something we are once again studying, especially after Covid, with market dynamics also possibly changed," he said. "We are re-thinking our plans as to what is to be introduced in the coming months, after Sonet."

File photo: A model poses next to KIA Sonet Concept car at the Auto Expo in Greater Noida.
File photo: A model poses next to KIA Sonet Concept car at the Auto Expo in Greater Noida. (AP)

Sonet is the next big launch that Kia is gearing up for and the company has high hopes from the sub four-meter SUV. A concept version was showcased at Auto Expo 2020 in February and the official launch is slated for sometime between August and October. Bhat took the opportunity to underline why Sonet could be a game changer in its lucrative but extremely competitive segment. "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. This vehicle has the Kia DNA which stands for excellent design, features which are class-leading and the quality. Sonet will exemplify that and will come with clutchless gearbox," he said. (Full report here)

And while Sonet looks at extending Kia's foray into the Indian market, the company could also consider bringing in an electric vehicle here in the times to come. "Kia has good, very good technology in the EV sphere. We have around 5% to 6% market share globally (in EVs). So, it is a question of when we will bring an EV rather than if we will bring in an EV. We will when the market is ready for it. Ready in terms of numbers, high class EVs like Soul which has a range of more than 450 kilometres," he said, adding that the numbers currently are coming in from cars with internal combustion engines.

Close