Kia aims to boost its market share in India by launching new models
Kia, a South Korean automaker, plans to introduce multiple models in India’s fast-growing utility vehicle segment, with both internal combustion and electrified powertrain options, in order to increase its market share to 10% within the next five years.
Kia India managing director Tae-jin Park told in an interview that the company would introduce at least two vehicles, one with an internal combustion engine and one with an electric powertrain, to boost volumes by 2028.
“We have set internal targets to grow market share under Kia 2.0. To realize these, we will focus on bringing in more products, ramp up capacity to meet the demand for the new vehicles, and also expanding our dealer network,” Park said, adding the company will only focus on the recreational or utility vehicle segment and stay away from the small-car segment.
Kia India’s manufacturing facility has the capacity to produce 600,000 units per year. The company expects to produce approximately 370,000 units in the current fiscal year and 430,000 units in 2025.
The company’s new products will include an “India-inspired” recreational vehicle, which will be released in 2025. The RV will be available in both gasoline and electric versions. Kia India anticipates that this new product will sell at least 70,000 units per year. There are also plans to test drive the EV9 electric SUV as early as next year.
To be sure, even though Kia has made significant inroads into India’s passenger vehicle market, capturing a 7% share in just four years, the Korean automaker’s local arm’s next five-year target is conservative. Park is aware of the increasing competition in the market segment in which its models are positioned.
“Yes, our market share targets are conservative as the segment is becoming more and more competitive,” said Park, alluding to the competition from Japanese and Indian carmakers.
Park was speaking on the sidelines of the new Seltos’ unveiling.
Meanwhile, Kia will maintain its premium market positioning and will not launch models below the Sonnet, which will remain the company’s entry-level model.“We are not looking to compete on price but on products,” said Park.
Kia, which has seen higher-than-expected demand for electric vehicles in India, expects EV sales to more than tenfold by 2030. “By 2030, we expect the Indian passenger vehicle market to reach at least 5 million units.” EVs will account for about 20% of these volumes. “In the long run, we want to have at least three or four EVs to have a double-digit market share in this segment,” he said.
From Maruti Suzuki to Hyundai Motor India and Toyota Kirloskar Motor, mainstream automakers have scheduled the launch of EVs in the Indian mass market for 2025, when charging infrastructure is expected to be more widespread in the country.
According to Park, India is a critical market for Kia globally. “India is already the fourth largest market for Kia globally, accounting for 10% of annual volumes,” he said. Our management recognizes the importance of this market and has provided us with the necessary resources.”
The company stated that demand for its EV6, which was released last year, has been extremely high. Last year, Kia India was allocated 100 units of the EV6 but had to request additional supplies from the headquarters. Kia sold over 400 EV6s in India last year, and 55,000 EVs are expected to be sold by 2022.
Kia has strong hybrid, plug-in hybrid, hydrogen, and flex-fuel vehicle technology globally and can bring it to the Indian market if there is a business case for the technology.
Kia India’s sales increased by 40% last year to 254,566 units. Within three years of its inception, the company had risen to the top five automobile brands in the country.
Kia has been working to increase exports from India in addition to domestic sales. A fifth of the company’s India production is shipped to approximately 90 countries.