Kia Motors India has announced that it has sold 7,275 units, comprising 7,114 Seltos SUVs and 161 Carnival MPVs, in June 2020, indicating a path of recovery in a challenging market and business environment.
On June 1, the Korean carmaker launched the refreshed Seltos, which now comes with 10 novel features, encompassing safety, convenience, connectivity and design, over and above other key enhancements. In addition, many existing features in the higher variants of the SUV like a standard sunroof are now available in lower variants too, thus setting new segment benchmarks and enhancing its class-leading performance. Furthermore, based on market research and customer preference, the company decided to discontinue two of its variants – Smartstream Petrol 1.4T-GDI GTK and GTX 7DCT.
While all Seltos variants get an emergency stop signal (ESS) as standard, the HTX, HTX+, GTX and GTX+ variants along with all automatic transmission variants get a host of connectivity feature updates such as smart-key remote engine start, voice-assist with ‘Hello Kia’, voice-assist for the air purifier and smart-watch app connectivity among others.
The HTX+ and GTX+ variants also get dual-tone option on sunroof as well as a new dual-tone orange-white exterior paint scheme.
In terms of features moving down to the lower variants, eight features including rear USB charger, leatherette gear knob, metal scuff plates and black leatherette interior among others have been brought down from earlier being offered in the top trims.
According to Kookhyun Shim, MD and CEO, Kia Motors India said “While the pandemic refuses to subside, the country is somehow trying to sustain and prepare itself to live with the Covid-19 effects. The past few months have been testing for the consumers as well as the industry. The Covid-19 and lockdown constraints limited our sales this month, but we are sure of delivering many more cars to our customers in July.”
Upcoming Sonet, a compact SUV with a big mission
Meanwhile, Kia Motors India is gearing up to launch the Sonet compact SUV, its third product in India, in the coming months. According to the company, “equipped with many segment-first features along with Kia DNA, Sonet will stand apart for its excellent design and the quality.”
Kia is betting big on the Sonet. In a news-break on April 24 this year, Autocar Professional had revealed that the company has chalked out a sales target of 70,000 units a year for the upcoming compact SUV in year one. Interestingly, India will be the sole production base in the world for the Sonet and that there's huge export potential for the snazzy compact SUV. Speaking to Autocar India earlier this year, Han-Woo Park, then president and CEO of Kia Motors, had said: "When our global partners saw the Sonet, they got a shock. This is a model everyone wants to have. The Sonet will be the symbolic model for our exports from India.”
As the Sonet measures less than 4 metres long, it complies with India’s ‘small car’ regulations, making it Kia’s smallest SUV yet. Although the model will share its platform and basic mechanicals with the Hyundai Venue, the Korean carmaker has gone to great lengths in order to differentiate the Sonet compact SUV from its cousin (Venue), apart from the distinctive and visibly more muscular design.
The Sonet will have three engine options – a 1.2 petrol, a 1.0 turbo-petrol and a 1.5 diesel – which are the same units seen in the Hyundai Venue. Gearbox choices are also expected to be the same as the Venue, with the 1.2-petrol getting a 5-speed manual, the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol and 1.5-diesel getting a 6-speed manual and the former will also likely get a 7-speed DCT automatic gearbox. The Kia Sonet is also expected to go one-up on the Venue with a diesel-automatic powertrain option. Additionally, the Sonet will also receive more equipment such as the Kia Seltos’ 10.25-inch touch-screen infotainment system, and a large sunroof is also a possibility.
According to Autocar India, Kia is expected to position the Sonet on the higher side of the compact SUV segment, with prices expected to be in the Rs 700,000-12 lakh (ex-showroom) bracket. Its rivals will include the Tata Nexon, Maruti Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Mahindra XUV300 and Ford EcoSport.
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