With total sales of 16,111 units in April 2021, Kia India has driven past the 250,000-unit domestic sales milestone. Having begun sales operations in August 2019, the landmark has come up in a scant 22 months.
This remarkable performance for the Korean brand, which barely three years ago was hardly known in India, has not surprisingly given it a strong foothold in the Indian passenger vehicle market. It is currently the No. 5 in the overall passenger vehicle market with a 5.74% market share and the No. 3 in the utility vehicle market, behind Maruti and Hyundai, having pipped Mahindra & Mahindra in FY2021.
Kia has achieved this with all of three products – the made-in-India Seltos and Sonet SUVs and the CKD-assembled Carnival MPV.
The Seltos, the first product and launched in August 2019, has sold a total of 178,895 units till end-April 2021, accounting for 70% of Kia’s total sales of 255,770. The Sonet compact SUV, launched a year after the Seltos in September 2020, has gone home to 71,441 buyers and comprises 28% of Kia India’s cumulative sales till now. The luxurious Carnival MPV, a halo product, has sold a total of 5,434 units and makes up the rest of the sales.
What is laudable is that in FY2021, most of which was impacted by the pandemic, Kia saw strong demand for both the Seltos and the Sonet. In fact, the Seltos was the fourth best-selling UV in India with 89,173 units, moving up one rank from FY2020 when it sold 81,717 units. Sibling Sonet too has pulled in the numbers with 63,717 units sold in its first year in India.
Gunning for 30% growth in FY2022
Buoyed by its strong performance in FY2021 despite adverse market conditions, Kia India is bullish about achieving 30 percent year-on-year growth this fiscal. Speaking recently to Autocar Professional, Harpreet Singh Brar, VP and Head of Sales and Marketing, Kia India, said: “Currently, we have a waiting period of 3-4 months on our products. Despite all the tough times and lockdowns in five states, we still have a lot of demand from the rest of the markets, so we are trying to supply cars to these cities.”
“Right now, the situation is very fluid and uncertain, but the good thing this time is that unlike last year, the lockdown is in phases and not on a national scale. So, if everything goes fine, we are looking at anything in the ballpark of 200,000 units by end-FY2022,” he added.
“We hope to ramp up production by June-July and start the third shift at the plant, as we hope that the pandemic-related supply-chain issues should be resolved by that time,” added Singh.
That Kia would be a big-numbers player was apparent in a few months after launch. The strategy of launching its first product in multiple variants, at multiple price-points clicked majorly in a competitive SUV market, and has since been duplicated by some rival OEMs too. While the 25,000-unit sales mark was crossed in 3 months, the 75,000-units sales landmark came up in just 7 months. The 100,000-mark was crossed in 11 months and now the 250,000 milestone has come up in another 11 months since then, indicating the marked acceleration in sales.
That’s not all, the company introduced the refreshed Seltos and Sonet in India on May 1 with more features while also sporting the brand-new Kia logo, and Q4 of FY2022 is slated to see Kia introduce an India-specific midsize MPV (codename KY) but that’s an altogether different story.