Kia's Global Bestsellers
By Ameya Naik
1 mins read
Published on April 28, 2017
- Kia's bestsellers include the Soul, Rio, Optima, Sorento among others
- Kia Motors' India plant will have an annual capacity of 300,000 units
- A sister brand of Hyundai, Kia will compete with the former in India
It's a great way to begin a year, isn't it? New manufacturers entering the Indian market always calls for a celebration. Setting foot into the Indian market is Kia Motors and we have told you all about the company's plans for India. There are a bunch of cars that we are expecting and yes we are excited about them. But before we start spilling out details about the cars that will be making to our shores, we might as well get to know what Kia Motors is all about. It's a brand, that has seen many ups and downs but now it's been growing steadily.
Kia sold over 3 million cars worldwide last year, and is one of the fastest growing brands in many global markets. There's no hesitation then that it's eyeing a market that is now selling close to 7 million cars a year and growing. The strategy then is to sell and consolidate its stance in the Indian market. Asia has been a strong market for Kia and in the past 6 years the company has garnered 51 per cent of sale from this region, while America accounted for 27.6 per cent and Europe 18.4 percent. Kia's top market is China, followed by America and finally Korea.
In Korea, Kia Motors has four car plants: Sohari, producing the Kia Carnival, Sedona, Rio and Quoris; Hwasung, making the Optima, Cerato, Sorento and Borrego; Gwangju, producing the Soul, Carnes, Sportage and Bongo van; and Seosan, making the Picanto. In Europe, Kia's site in Slovakia is close to the Hyundai Czech plant and produces the Cee'd, Sportage and Venga and has an annual capacity of 300,000 units.
In the US, Kia's Georgia plant is also a 300,000 unit plant which produces the Sorento and Optima. And it was in September last year that the company opened a facility in Mexico to meet growing regional demand for Kia products and that too has an annual capacity of 400,000 units a year. Kia also has two joint venture plants in China, known as Dongfeng Yueda Kia while the second plant, in Yancheng in Jiangsu, opened in 2007. The company will start work on its factory in India in the third quarter of 2017 with a production rollout slated for 2019. This plant will have an initial installed annual capacity of 300,000 units.
While it is Hyundai's sister brand, front-end operations of both companies remain separate, and they compete head-on with like-segment products. But Kia has a bunch of bestsellers in its kitty already and yes they're planning to bring most of them. Kia's popular cars globally have been the Soul, Optima and Sorento. Kia and Hyundai share platforms and the number of platforms has reduced drastically, from being 22 in 2002, to 18 in 2009 and finally 6 in 2013. The platform sharing has reduced the new product development time period - from design concept to start of production - from 4 years to 3.5 years.
While the Soul is an independent product and finds no equivalent in the Hyundai stable, it is based on the same platform as the i20 and i20 Active. The Rio too which is based on this platform finds a rival in the form of the Grand i10. The Kia Optima is based on the same platform as the Sonata and the cars are essentially rebadged versions. The Kia Forte is based on the Hyundai Elantra and a bestseller, while the Sorento is based on the Hyundai Santa Fe. Though there is a lot of sharing and even rebadging, both Kia and Hyundai have made certain that they technically compete with one another. You can clearly tell the difference in the design language used in both. While it's too early to tell, how Kia will place its products in comparison to Hyundai's, we can't wait to see how this fight eventually turns out to be.
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